A terrific time for teas: teas represent one of the hottest segments in the functional beverage market.Any way you drink it--brewed, chilled or from powdered single-serve packets--tea is hot and getting hotter. With current sales of approximately $6.2 billion annually (Tea Association of the USA, New York, NY), growth is expected to reach or exceed $10 billion in retail value by 2010 for all tea types and channels of distribution, according to Sage Group International, Seattle, WA. While black tea makes up a majority of U.S. sales, specialty teas are driving new growth--led by green, ready-to-drink (RTD) and flavored teas. Innovative tea bags, organic offerings, chai and herbal teas are also helping drive interest in this age-old drink.
The "Specialty Tea is 'Hot' Report" published by the Sage Group indicates that there are a few factors driving growth in specialty teas, both in the U.S. and abroad. Some of these factors include: the aging baby boomers who are in search of better health, research studies supporting the myriad health benefits attributed tea consumption, and the media attention being paid to the latest research on various tea types. While these factors alone will help drive solid continuous growth, beverage competition is fierce, with designer and regular bottled water, energy drinks and new juices continuing to flood the marketplace.
Our society is increasingly aware of and interested in achieving better health. Tea is an ancient beverage surrounded by a great deal of folklore related to its purported benefits. Once hailed as a liver aid and body purifier, scientists over the years have confirmed that this popular beverage really does confer a variety of health benefits. Loaded with antioxidant polyphenols (including flavonoids) and available in several varieties, it's no wonder tea is second only to water as the most consumed beverage in the world.
Tea has been linked to a decrease in several chronic diseases such as heart disease and some cancers. Researchers have even connected tea consumption to a reduction in Alzheimer's disease, boosting the immune system, and possibly killing leukemia cells. Tea drinking has also been associated with improved cognitive and immune function, good oral and bone health, and a reduced risk of kidney stones, osteoporosis, and obesity.
Most research to date has examined the health benefits of black and green tea, while studies on white tea are still in the early stages. Preliminary studies, however, show promising anti-viral/anti-bacterial properties, as well as protection against skin cell damage and colon cancer. It is important to note that experts apply the health benefits of green tea to white tea as well.
For years brewed tea was typically put in square bags with finely chopped tea leaves--known as tea dust--which resulted in a steamy cup of black tea. Round pouches soon made their way to market followed by newer, "upscale" mesh pyramid shaped bags made of nylon, silk or muslin. Most pyramid bags are filled with one of many varieties of whole leaf tea--a trend that has been picked up by smaller companies such as Harney & Sons, Mighty Leaf, Adagio and the Highland Tea Company, as well as larger companies like Lipton.
Why bags? Bags filled with tea leaves provide the experience of finer taste that tea connoisseurs often prefer without the hassle that can come with brewing tea from the leaves. The bags allow the leaves to soak up water, and yet contain them so they are easier to throw out--leaving no mess. Of course, consumers pay more for the experience of drinking whole leaves in bags--from 20 cents per bag to over $2, compared to pennies for a typical square tea bag filled with dust.
Tom Vierhile of Datamonitor, New York, NY, says in the ready-to-drink RTD category he expects to see teas touting additional health benefits, a variety of fruit flavors, more organic introductions, exotic teas and cross-pollenization of energy drinks with tea. Also, in both the RTD and brewed categories, white tea is making its presence known, pomegranate has been appearing on an increasing number of tea products as an ingredient, and the antioxidant label claim is becoming more commonplace.
To secure future growth, tea companies should focus their efforts on making tea hip for younger consumers--teens and the college crowd--while also appealing to the ever-growing ethnic populations.
Tea products continue to appear in the marketplace at warp speed. According to Datamonitor, from January 1, 2006 through September 19,2006,505 new teas hit the market. This figure may outpace 2005, which saw 651 introductions for the year. While all new products cannot be covered here, some of the most notable introductions in the past six months are featured throughout the following pages.
Adagio Teas, Clifton, NJ
Tea Brands: Adagio Display Tea (Red Bloom and Jasmine Bloom varieties); Adagio RealiTEA Gourmet Black Tea (English Breakfast; Golden Yunnan; Pu Erh, Gourmet Oolong Tea--Jasmine Pearls; Ti Kuan Yin, Gourmet White Tea--Pai Mu Tan; Silver Needle, Gourmet Green Tea--Dragonwell; Jasmine, Gourmet Herbal Tea--Osmanthus varieties)
Adagio most recently unveiled its "display teas," which are described as such for a reason--they "unfurl when added to water, revealing delicate flowers hidden within." Adagio's display teas are hand-made by artisans in eastern China from tea leaves gathered in early Spring. The leaves are "young and delicate, preventing them from turning bitter as display teas linger in the cup." Varieties include both Jasmine Bloom (green tea blossom) and Red Bloom (black tea blossom).
Adagio's other varieties are available in a unique three-dimensional pyramid shape and are individually packaged in laminated packets and sold in the U.S.
Arizona Beverage Company, Lake Success, NY
Tea Brands: Arizona All Natural Juice & Decaf Tea Blend (White Grape Green Tea, Apple Green Tea and Pomegranate Green Tea varieties)
Known for its large, sturdy wide mouth glass bottles, Arizona Brewing Company has a new RTD: All Natural Juice & Decaf Tea Blends, which are "sweetened with real fruit juice." According to product literature, the new decaffeinated teas are made with 50% decaf green tea and 50% real juice. They are said to have a robust, delicious taste and contain only 80 calories per 8-oz. serving. The Apple Green tea variety also contains apple juice from concentrate, orange blossom honey, natural flavors, ascorbic acid and panax ginseng extract. Pomegranate Green tea contains pomegranate juice from concentrate, honey, apple juice from concentrate, citric acid, natural flavors, vegetable juice, ascorbic acid, panax ginseng, vitamin E acetate, vitamin a palmitate and sodium selenite.
Cadbury Schweppes, Rye Brook, NY
Tea Brands: Snapple White Teas (Nectarine, Green Apple and Raspberry flavors); Snapple All Natural Green Tea (Original, Asian Pear and Mango flavors)
Looking to exploit the wellness trend, Snapple recently adopted a "good for you" platform from which it plans to launch a variety of teas. The "good for you" launch started with the company's unveiling of a collection of white teas blended with light fruit essences. Snapples's White Teas are the first in a line of new products that will support a "good for you" platform from which the brand will educate and inspire consumers about the health benefits of tea. Available in Nectarine, Green Apple and Raspberry flavors, these beverages are naturally light tasting because they are made from baby white tea leaves plucked in their purest and most delicate state. The teas are naturally decaffeinated and contain antioxidants. The teas are also made with real sugar--but less of it, so it's more refreshing and maintains its natural, healthy goodness, according to the company.
Most recently, the company launched 'Good for You' Green Teas. This collection of authentic green teas contains the natural antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) to help boost metabolism. Snapple's new Green Tea has the most EGCG, with 55 mg per bottle, compared to leading RTD green teas. Flavors include Original, Mango and Asian Pear.
Caranda Teas, New York, NY
Tea Brands: Organic African Gourmet Iced Blends (Iced Bassa Blood Orange, Iced Masai Blu and Iced Moroccan Green varieties)
Caranda Teas, a socially responsible company that focuses on the promotion of traditional and contemporary African culture, is known for its uniquely flavored teas. The new Caranda Teas Organic African Gourmet Iced Blends of loose leaf teas are sold in the U.S. through Caranda Teas of New York. The varieties include Iced Bassa Blood Orange, which contains honey bush, orange peels, pineapple, lemon grass, apple pieces, rose hips, hibiscus flowers, safflowers, cinnamon and passion; Iced Masai Blu, which contains red rooibos, black currents, raspberries, sour cherries, elderberries, bilberries, strawberries, rose hips, hibiscus flowers, orange peels, bergamot and passion; and Iced Moroccan Green, which contains green rooibos, peppermint, spearmint, lemon verbena and passion).
Coca-Cola, Atlanta, GA
Tea Brands: Gold Peak Iced Tea (Sweetened, Unsweetened, Diet, Lemon and Green Tea varieties); Nestea Iced Tea (Diet and Regular Peach Green Tea varieties)
New Gold Peak Iced Tea is touted as "a premium iced tea with fresh brewed taste" and is said to feature high quality, handpicked tea leaves and pure filtered water. This RTD iced tea is presented in a carafe-like 16.9-oz. single serve glass bottle and comes in Sweetened, Unsweetened, Diet, Lemon and Green Tea varieties.
Nestea, owned by Nestle but controlled in most regions of the world by Coca-Cola and Nestle through Beverage Partners Worldwide, has launched new varieties of its RTD iced tea. The new varieties are targeted toward consumers 35-plus years of age and are said to use higher quality teas with antioxidant properties for health benefits. They are packaged in 20-oz. plastic bottles, 12-oz. cans, and 12-count shrink-wrapped packs of 16.9-oz. plastic bottles.
Hain Celestial Group Melville, NY
Tea Brands: Celestial Seasonings Zingers To Go (Blueberry Splash Green Tea, Peach Delight Great Tea, Wild Berry Chill Herb Tea and Tangerine Orange Wave Herb Tea varieties)
The Hain Celestial Group has debuted several new flavored teas under the Celestial Seasonings brand. Celestial Seasonings Zingers To Go are the first 100% natural products in the powdered drink category, presenting an easy and delicious way for consumers to meet their daily water requirement, the company says. The new teas are available in four flavors--Blueberry Splash Green Tea, Peach Delight Great Tea, Wild Berry Chill Herb Tea and Tangerine Orange Wave Herb Tea--and are packaged in individual servings that mix instantly with water to create a refreshing drink.
Le-Nature's Inc., Latrobe, PA
Tea Brands: Samurai Energy Green Tea (Raspberry, Lemon Myst and Original varieties)
Le-Nature's has combined the energy drink with tea to make its Samurai Energy Green Tea. Blended with guarana, caffeine, taurine and fruit flavorings, this beverage is presented in a 20-oz. plastic bottle. According to product literature, the teas are a good source of antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals.
POM Wonderful LLC, Los Angeles, CA
Tea Brands: POM Tea (Pomegranate Black, Pomegranate Lychee Green, Pomegranate Peach Passion White, and Pomegranate Blackberry Black varieties)
POM Wonderful claims its new tea is "made from the finest hand-picked, whole-leaf tea that's gently brewed for a delicious taste with less caffeine." The tea is packaged in a 13.5-oz. "keepsake" glass bottle with a "lid-style closure." According to company literature, it contains POMx, a highly-concentrated (and powerful) blend of polyphenol antioxidants.
Republic of Tea, Novato, CA
Tea Brands: Republic of Tea Be Well Red Teas (Get Gorgeous Herb Tea for Clear Skin; Get it Going Herb Tea for Regularity; Get Charged Herb Tea for Energy; Get a Grip Herb Tea for PMS/Menopause; Get Some Zzz's Herb Tea for Rest; Get Lost Herb Tea for Weight Control; Get Clean Herb Tea for Detoxing; Get Soothed Herb Tea for Scratchy Throats; Get Relief Herb Tea for Digestion varieties); J. Garcia Artisan Teas (Morning Brew, Jerry Cherry Tea, Shady Grown Tea, Magic Herb Tea and Spirit of Sage varieties)
Republic of Tea's new Be Well Red Teas feature the caffeine-free, anti-allergenic herb rooibos blended with other therapeutic herbs. Utilizing a popular tactic that OPI nail polish has used to sell its myriad colors, the Republic of Tea came up with catchy names for its line too. Get Gorgeous Herb Tea for Clear Skin contains organic rooibos, chamomile flowers, orange peel, hibiscus flowers, chaste berry and burdock root; Get it Going Herb Tea for Regularity contains organic Rooibos, senna leaf, ginger, anise, honey and lemon myrtle; Get Charged Herb Tea for Energy contains organic rooibos, Siberian ginseng, ashwa-ganda root, panax ginseng root, blueberries and gotu kola leaf; Get a Grip Herb Tea for PMS/Menopause contains organic rooibos, chaste berry, black cohosh, dong quai extract, parsley leaves, chicory root and natural honey; Get Some Zzz's Herb Tea for Rest contains organic rooibos, chamomile flowers, passionflower and valerian root extract; Get Lost Herb Tea for Weight Control contains organic rooibos, carob, cinnamon, banaba extract and gym-nema leaves; Get Clean Herb Tea for Detoxing contains organic rooibos, milk thistle, roasted dandelion, burdock, chicory root, sarsaparilla root and red clover; Get Soothed Herb Tea for Scratchy Throats contains organic rooibos, marshmallow root, licorice, ginger, sage root and lemon myrtle; and Get Relief Herb Tea for Digestion contains organic rooibos, cinnamon, anise and peppermint.
Earlier this year the company launched a collection of teas expertly blended in the spirit of creative expression exemplified by legendary musician and renowned artist Jerry Garcia. A one-of-a-kind compilation of five teas, the first limited-edition series of J. Garcia Artisan Teas includes: Morning Brew Tea, which is a bold, full-bodied black tea from the organic tea estates of Southern India (Label art: "Trees," Jerry Garcia, 1992); Jerry Cherry Tea, which combines black tea with the sweet essence of ripe Bing cherries and sweet vanilla (Label art: "Curves & Lines," Jerry Garcia, 1993); Shady Grown Tea, which is a soulful blend of Brazilian yerba mate and South African Rooibos, enhanced by a hint of cinnamon and vanilla (Label art: "Banyan Trees," Jerry Garcia, 1993); Magic Herb Tea, which features a naturally caffeine-free, harmonious herbal blend of vibrant orange and flavorful peppermint (Label art: "Facets II," Jerry Garcia, 1986); and Spirit of Sage Tea, which is a favorite of vocalists that includes fresh China green tea to provide a lift, while mellow sage cools and comforts (Label art: "Van Gogh's Tree," Jerry Garcia, 1990).
Taste Nirvana, Chino, CA
Tea Brands: Taste Nirvana All Natural Tea (Creamy Green Tea and Creamy Thai Tea varieties); Dark Scorpion Energy Drink; Black Opium Energy Drink
Stepping outside of the box of traditional teas, the company has added two new varieties to its Taste Nirvana line. All Natural Creamy Thai Tea is a rich, creamy tea that combines chai tea, milk, cream and sugar. Creamy Green Tea brings together green tea, milk and cream, soy, and sugar for a rich, creamy flavor.
Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Tea Brands: Lipton Premium Pyramid Tea (Bavarian Wild Berry, Vanilla Caramel Truffle, White Tea with Mango & Peach, Green Tea with Mandarin Orange, Black Pearl pure long leaf Black Tea, Red Tea with Harvest Strawberry & Passionfruit varieties); Lipton RTD Iced Tea (White Tea with Tangerine, Green Tea with Orange & Passionfruit, and Diet Green Tea with Mixed Berries varieties)
Lipton has reinvented itself with new pyramid-shaped tea bags that infuse a variety of real pieces of fruit with black tea. Presented in a 20-count box, literature states, "These innovative, pryamid-shaped bags allow the long leaf tea more room to infuse for optimal aroma, color and taste."
Sold in 16.9-oz. 12 packs, and 20-oz., 1 liter and 1.5 liter plastic bottles, all Lipton RTD varieties are claimed to deliver the benefits of antioxidants and carry the official AOX seal, a proprietary mark created by Lipton to indicate substantial levels of antioxidants. White Tea with Tangerine contains brewed tea from Lipton white and green tea leaves, sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, citrus pectin and ascorbic acid (to protect the flavor). Green tea with Orange and Passionfruit contains brewed green tea from Lipton tea leaves, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid (to provide tartness), natural flavors, citrus pectin and ascorbic acid. Diet Green Tea with Mixed Berries contains citric acid, green tea, natural flavors, sodium hexametaphosphate and ascorbic acid, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate (to preserve freshness), aspartame, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness), citrus pectin, acesulfame potassium, and calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor).
Pacific Natural Foods, Tualatin, OR
Tea Brands: Organic Iced Teas (Peach, Lemon, Raspberry, Sweetened Black Tea and Unsweetened Green Tea varieties)
Pacific Natural Foods has introduced USDA organic, small batch brewed iced teas. These new iced teas are available in five flavors: Peach, Lemon, Raspberry, Sweetened Black Tea and Unsweetened Green Tea. They are available in 64-oz. shelf stable aseptic packaging, which ensures great taste by locking out air and light, according to the company. These RTD iced teas are brewed with Fair Trade Certified tea.
ITO EN, Inc., New York, NY,
Tea Brands: ITO EN (Sri Lankan Black Teas--Mango, Blueberry, Raspberry and Peach flavors)
ITO EN has added Tea Mango, Tea Raspberry, Tea Peach and Tea Blueberry to its sweetened line of RTD Sri Lankan black teas. Like all ITO EN bottled teas, the new products are authentically brewed from premium whole, loose tea leaves using state-of-the-art brewing techniques--with the added infusion of a touch of fruit, the company claims. Each variety contains 120 calories per serving fortified with 40% of the suggested daily requirement of vitamin C.
References furnished upon request.
By Marie Spano, MS, RD
RELATED ARTICLE: This article in a nutshell:
* Growth drivers
* Brewing trends
* Future growth
* Product round-up: a focus on Snapple, Lipton, Republic of Tea and more ...
RELATED ARTICLE: The Coffee Market's Latest Buzz
Global trends suggest a potentially robust market for functional coffee.
Hot drinks are witnessing the evolution of a new category--fortified/functional instant coffee--according to new health and wellness beverages research from Euromonitor International, London, U.K. So far, the segment has gained a foothold in a few, very different markets, such as Poland, Japan and Indonesia, however, Euromonitor International predicts the sector could gain much wider appeal, potentially becoming very lucrative across Eastern Europe and Asia.
Mokate's Trial and Error Affair
Instant coffee has always faired well in Eastern Europe, given it's what consumers grew up with back in the iron curtain days. In 2005, over 67% of the region's coffee sales came from instant coffee, compared to 29% in Western Europe and a meager 13% in North America. The older generation, in particular, loves instant coffee and in the early 1990s, Polish manufacturer Mokate launched an ingenious product, Mokate with Magnesium, specifically targeted toward the older generation.
The product was so well received and enduring in its popularity that Mokate launched a whole new line of fortified instant cappuccinos in April 2004: Vitale Aloe Vera with calcium and multivitamins, Vitale with coenzyme-Q10 and selenium, Vitale Slim Figure and Vitale Ginseng. Unfortunately, Polish consumers were not yet ready for such an exotic line-up, and the new Mokate Vitale is now facing withdrawal from supermarket shelves. A key reason for the poor performance of these new beverages was a lack of advertising, which left consumers confused and unenlightened about the benefits of the product.
Anything Goes in Asia
Japanese consumers are more adventurous than the Polish. In 2005, fortified/functional instant coffee registered sales of $52 million in Japan (compared to $3 million in Poland), and sales are predicted to grow to $71 million by 2010, according to Euromonitor International. Functional ingredients are big business in Japan, where consumers are uniquely well informed about their benefits. Instant coffees contain a diverse range of functional ingredients, such as calcium, black soybeans, polyphenols, or oligosaccharides, and new product variations are continually entering the market. The top-ranking product is Ajinomoto's Blendy Instant Oligosac-charide, which was launched in August 2005 and is designed to benefit intestinal health.
Speaking of intestinal health, Puroast, Woodland, CA, has introduced Low-Acid Coffee for those who suffer gastrointestinal distress after drinking traditional coffees with high levels of acidity. Researchers have found that this brand of coffee is over 50% lower in acid compared to other leading coffees, effectively allowing millions of Americans who've been advised to avoid coffee to once again enjoy the flavor, aroma and caffeine of authentic coffee.
Instant coffee fortified with ginseng is all the rage in Indonesia, where the category grew by 32% between 2002 and 2005. Fueled by aggressive advertising campaigns, the sector grew 18% in the last year alone. CNI, a direct marketing company, leads with its CNI Ginseng Coffee, and a whole spate of newcomers have recently started nestling in, including South Korean producer Hanmayum with Hi Red Korean Ginseng Coffee.
Indonesian consumers are traditionally well versed on the vitality-enhancing properties of ginseng, and they appreciate the added value of this type of product. Although value sales in Indonesia only amounted to $0.7 million in 2005, Euromonitor International expects fortified instant coffee to post extraordinary growth of nearly 90% between 2005 and 2010.
For Instant Success Look East
While traditional coffee drinking nations, who are barely willing to put up with instant coffee, may baulk at the idea of having their favorite beverage "adulterated" in any way, countries that have recently discovered the joys of coffee, have no such qualms. On the contrary, their consumers appreciate the low price of instant coffee and welcome fortified versions for their perceived added value. If supported by adequate marketing efforts, Euromonitor International predicts fortified instant coffee will catch on throughout Eastern Europe, as well as Asia Pacific. Ginseng instant coffee, for example, has the potential to be a huge hit in South Korea, Malaysia and China within the next decade.
Most of the information in this article was provided by Euromonitor International, London, U.K. (www.euromonitor.com).