Special edition: Authentic Tea Tastes

What’s next in tea? Functional claims, hot tea pods, and increased attention from Coca-Cola

By Anne Bruce

- Last updated on GMT

What's next in tea?

Related tags Tea

Major soft drink players are turning their attention to tea as a focal point for innovation and volume growth, delegates at World Tea Expo will hear this week.

Sales of Coca-Cola brands such as Gold Peak, Fuze and Honest Tea, and Pepsi-Lipton’s Pure Leaf are in strong growth.

Brewed iced teas have taken off in the US, observes Euromonitor International senior US analyst, Howard Telford, who will be a keynote speaker at the event in California this week.

‘The future’s bright, the future’s global’

Meanwhile, hot tea was the second most consumed beverage globally in 2014,  Telford told BeverageDaily.com - well ahead of carbonates and coffee and just behind bottled water.

China was the largest market in terms of volume sales, followed by Russia, India, Egypt and Pakistan.

But in per capita terms, Ireland, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Russia and the UK are the Top 5.

“The future is bright….and very much global,” ​said Telford. “In 2019, we think that $0.50 of every retail dollar spent on tea will be spent in Asia, and almost half of brewed volume.”

Functional claims boost value

Flavour driven product innovation - appealing to a broader range of consumers and opening up more drinking occasions during the day – is helping drive tea sales.

Teas with wellness and functional claims can justify higher prices, and help create value in the category. Euromonitor global data suggests fortified or functional hot tea attracted more than four times the unit price of the wider category.

In North America, hot tea pods – which carry a much higher price per serving than individual tea bags - continue to increase their share of total retail value and provide a new avenue for value creation in the industry.

In developed markets, high-end, specialist hot tea retailers are leading a movement to make hot tea relevant with a new demographic and generate a premium product, Telford said.

Examples include Unilever’s expanding T2 chain (premium tea chain in Australia), or Starbucks’ Teavana launch last year.

Source of theanine

Other speakers at the 13th annual World Tea Expo between May 6 and 8 include Nigel Melican, CEO of Teacraft in the UK.

He explains tea is the only natural food source of theanine, an amino acid reputed to have a calming effect on the mind.

In a separate presentation he will talk about his advisory work setting up tea plantations across the US and UK.

He commented: “We hope to develop teas that have distinctive regional characteristics, in the way that an Oolong or a Darjeeling does.”

What’s next in tea?

The World Tea Expo will look at ‘what’s next’ in tea, new products and distribution channels, and how to capitalise on tea’s growth in the marketplace.

There are approximately 150 exhibitors at the Expo and around 4,000 visitors are expected from more than 50 counties around the world.

The expo will include a “Tea Up for Health” pavilion with sessions on the latest research and consumer trends, types of teas and their health benefits, as well as information about product development and RTDs, issues with labelling, and using the health message to sell tea and tea-based products.

A dedicated area will feature tea products of all kinds that have been designed, developed or marketed to highlight the health advantages of tea.

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1 comment


Posted by Charles. Kimani,

Interesting way the world is changing rapidly

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