The German company cites research from Canadean indicating growth of 9 per cent in the ready-to-drink tea category between 2000 and 2008. White tea saw an 88 per cent increase in its popularity between 2006 and 2008; and green tea a 29 per cent increase over the same time frame.
Rooibos, also known as ‘red tea’ is a plant native to South Africa. As well as being caffeine-free, rooibos is rich in antioxidants. According to the company, tea infusions are accepted by consumers as premium goods geared towards health and wellness.
Wild’s beverage concepts can be supplied to its customers as whole ideas, including research and development as well as positioning and marketing. They can also be provided as flavour solutions incorporating other flavours and sweeteners, to which the beverage manufacturer need only add water.
The company says products based on the concept will stand out from other tea drinks that use traditional tea extracts, and will carry a premium. Rooibos may also appeal to a broader slice of the population, such as children, for whom the caffeine-free status is seen as ideal.
Jochen Heininger, director product management beverage Europe at Wild, pointed out that positioning as a premium or wellness drink also means rooibos-based products are more acceptable throughout the year – not just in the summer season, as can be the case for traditional iced teas.
Wild has already identified flavours that would go particularly well with rooibos: pomegranate and a vanilla-cherry blossom blend. A spokesperson told FoodNavigator.com that these are already used in the hot tea segment, and therefore consumers are already familiar with them.
"However, it is possible to combine the rooibos tea drink with variable flavors – as far as they go well with the rooibos base.”
The company also recommends use of its own sweetener Fruit Up because of its natural positioning, but says this is just an option and other sweetening systems are also perfectly suitable.
The company declined to comment on where it sources its rooibos from, but did say that it does not have its own plantations.
The infusing is carried out at its production plant in Berlin, Germany, using the same extremely gently process as for other tea forms. The process is intended to preserve the authentic taste; there is no need for the customer to have its own brewing or infusion technology.