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Long before ‘natural’ was cool, Celestial Seasonings saw the future in tea leaves – The Denver Post

Celestial Seasonings is more than a herbal tea company. It started 50 years ago in Boulder with a mission to make a healthy and tasty tea that people like to drink, said Mo Siegel, one of the founders who gathered herbs and flowers to blend them as tea for selling at local health food stores.

“I feel thrilled it has lasted 50 years,” Siegel said.

Its mission-driven culture and the passion of people who worked there put the company on a strong footing, he said, adding he is looking forward to speaking at the company’s 50th anniversary celebration Thursday for former and current employees.

“There were so many heroes who made the company happen,” he said.

The community of Boulder deserves a special mention for standing behind Celestial Seasonings, Siegel said.

Boulder, meanwhile, might say Celestial Seasonings deserves special mention of its own.

“Celestial Seasonings put Boulder on the natural products map,” said Arron Mansika, executive director of Naturally Boulder, adding the company has been a training ground for many professionals in the food industry, not just in Boulder but nationally.

The idea that doing business that’s good for the planet and the people also is good business was championed by the founders of Celestial Seasonings, he said, adding the company benefited immensely under Moe Siegel’s leadership. Siegel won Naturally Boulder’s Lifetime Achievement award in 2013.

“He combines marketing savvy and business acumen with genuine warmth,” Mansika said.

Staff brews success

The company became successful, because the employees were willing to work hard to succeed, and they were optimistic about the world that was slowly discovering natural foods, said Siegel, who sold the company to Kraft Inc. in 1984, repurchased it in 1989 with help from Vestar Capital Partners in a leveraged buyout, and merged it with the Hain Food Group to become The Hain Celestial Group in 2000.

Celestial Seasonings offers more than 100 varieties of herbal, green, black, wellness, rooibos and chai teas. Tea products accounted for about 5% of the Hain Celestial Group’s consolidated net sales from 2017 through 2019, the company noted last month in its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission . In the fiscal year ending June 30, the Hain Group had net sales of $2.3 billion.

According to a recent report by global market intelligence agency Mintel, Celestial Seasonings in May (in last 52 weeks) had a 10.3% share of the bagged, loose leaf and single cup tea market In the United States with sales of $132.8 million. Mintel’s estimated U.S. sales in the brewed tea market (bagged, loose leaf, and single cup) in 2019 are pegged at $1.7 billion.