German ingredients giant Döhler claims that many consumers now see RTD teas as too sweet, and says its new range of tea concepts with more authentic tastes could drive uptake.
On average, consumer across the world drank 56 litres of tea per year (both in and out of the home) but only six litres of this amount could be attributed to ready-to-drink iced tea, the Darmstadt-based firm said.
“Why? In part because many consumers regard classic iced tea as being too sweet and often lacking the characteristic tea taste. As a result of the broad global acceptance of tea, Döhler (Doehler) sees untapped market potential in the RTD tea segment,” it added.
Although classic RTD teas tasting of, say, lemon and peach would remain popular, Döhler said, it added that these products often lacked the characteristic tea taste, where strong tea infusions could lend them an authentic note.
For instance, Döhler said that a brewed iced tea concept – replacing tea extracts with strong tea infusions – would allow advertisements to claim ‘made with directly brewed tea’.
A Döhler spokeswoman explained to BeverageDaily.com that the tea taste of 'technically concentrated' extracts was very low, while an infusion was more similar to tea made at home but concentrated.
"It tastes like real tea. In addition, you have the benefit to claim 'directly brewed tea' and not just 'tea extracts', which is a benefit due to the fact that the consumer associates with a brewed tea a more natural product," the spokeswoman said.
Brewed ice teas stand out on account of their natural appearance and authentic taste profile, clearly distinguishing themselves from existing classic iced teas on the market, Döhler said.
Due to their lack of additives and technical concentration, Döhler said that strong tea infusions tasted like freshly brewed tea, and included black-, green- and white teas, rooibos and mate infusions and other teas made using herbs, spices and fruits.
Alongside cost-efficient infusions for “easy enhancement of iced teas”, Döhler also announced the launch of premium tea infusions using specially selected tea leaves that allowed variety and country of origin to be claimed on labelling.
‘Premium indulgence’ was also possible by combining tea infusions made from high quality tea leaves (Ceylon, Darjeeling, etc.) with natural fruit juice and reduced sugar, the company said.
Asked about a cost premium from using infusions over extracts, the spokeswoman said: "Of course, due to the fact that these bases using high quality raw materials, they would have a higher cost impact than a standard tea extract. But on the other hand you have the possibility to generate a significantly higher sales price from the consumer, and therefore higher margins for the customer."