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New partnership targets premium tea market

By Emma Edwards , 01-Mar-2011

Germany’s Döhler and Plantextrakt have formed a strategic partnership and unveiled a new tea concept, which they claim will open up the global premium quality tea drinks market.

Targeting both iced tea and hot tea markets, the ‘True Tea’ concept is made from freshly brewed tea. “The extract is produced without the concentration step and only minimal processing,” explained Harald Krug, head of PM Tea, Coffee, Herbals and Sweetners at Döhler, “therefore maintaining the true taste and flavour of the tea.”

RTD teas are predicted to be the fastest growing beverage sector between 2010 and 2020, according to global beverage market specialist Canadean, with annual growth rates forecast between 8 per cent and 9 per cent.

Mintel's Global New Products Database has entries for over 1,000 new product launches in the iced tea category globally. Asia Pacific led the market, followed by North America and Europe respectively. Europe recorded the highest number of RTD hot drinks launches, whilst North America recorded the greatest increase in product launches in 2010 compared to 2009.

Premium tea products have found success in Japan, China and Indonesia where, according to Mr Krug, “we have a high per capita consumption of hot tea, but also high consumption of RTD teas.”

Supplied as a ‘market ready’ tea ingredient, True Tea now offers global beverage manufacturers the opportunity to move into the premium tea sector. “In Europe such products are only made by small brands. In Japan you have companies like Suntory, Kirin, Ito-En but they all brew the tea at site, which necessitates a huge infrastructure and dedicated facility for tea brewing. With our concept, we can supply bottlers and bottler networks with standardised tea bases which are ready for use – so offering significant advantages in terms of consistency and quality of the product, as well as logistics.”

Time for tea

The new product is being introduced to the international market at Gulfood in Dubai this week. Mr Krug explained: “We have started to show the concept to major beverage producers in Europe and will showcase the concept at the coming food and beverage trade shows.”

The initial True Tea range has been selected on the basis of the most popular flavours which will, according to Mr Krug “appeal to traditional tea consumers as well as ice tea consumers.” Flavours include Ceylon, White, Green, Early Grey, Ceylon Mint, Ceylon Elderflower, Green tea, Lemmonmyrtle, “but any other quality variety and origin are available.” All products are available at neutral pH (requires UHT aseptic filling), as well as pH 3.8 (requires pasteurisation and aseptic filling).