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The 1992 Nielsen tea report.

Trends in the tea category are promising. This is especially true given the slowdown in retail food outlet sales over the past two years.

The importance of food away from home remains at about the same level that we have seen over the past five years.

The total tea market maintained the level attained in 1991. This is encouraging, as the market had declined for seven consecutive years prior to 1991's turnaround.

No one seems able to forecast the weather accurately. Certainly none of us has any control over Mother Nature. The tea category has been able to maintain sales despite a temperature decline in five of the past six bimonthly periods compared to year ago.

Dollar sales of tea in supermarsecond consecutive year, growing at a 1.5% rate. Pound sales remained at basically the same level for the fourth consecutive year.

Only shelf stable juices and drinks and carbonated beverages exhibited tonnage growth among the beverage categories. Tea's flat performance actually outpaced coffee, powered soft drinks, and frozen juices and drinks.

Iced tea mix continues to increase its relative importance to the category. Most of the gain appears to be at the expense of instant tea, which may be losing shelf presence as iced tea mixes expand.

The tea category performance is highlighted by substantial growth from three segments: liquid tea,

Teabags performances was flat following growth in 1991. Instant tea and loose tea continued their declining trends.

Liquid tea's importance on a dollar basis is almost 7% of the entire category. Similarly, herbal tea and iced tea mix are also quite important on a dollar basis.

Tea bags, by the dominant form representing 60% of pounds sales, account for less than half the category's dollar volume.

How often are package labels read by the primary shopper? How knowledgeable are people about their blood cholesterol level? The American consumer has become more health conscious and more aware of what they are eating and drinking. Salt content, cholesterol and fat content and calories can be as important as the product itself.

The increase in sales of products perceived as healthy by consumers has been evident throughout the supermarket. Both herbal and decaf teas have posted strong sales gains and may be benefiting from the increased consumer awareness.

Non-food outlets importance to the tea category has increased at expense of supermarkets and small food stores. Drug stores, mass merchandisers, and warehouse clubs now account for more than 10% of category sales.

Tea volume increased in three of the four regions. The East, which leads the country in per capita consumption, led the way with increases of 2% and 4% for pounds and dollars respectively.

Liquid tea continues to show very strong growth, while iced tea mix and herbal tea also grew across all regions.

Teabags dominate in the South. Iced tea mix and teabags share importance in the East. Instant tea is important in the Central, and herbal's importance continues strong in the West.

1992 has been a year of transition, a year of adapting to changes in a variety of areas: The Soviet Union we grew up with no longer exists, inflation is forecast at 3% through 1993, growth will have to come from "real", not inflated increases. Consumers are changing their shopping habits both in the types of products they are consuming and the outlets where they are shopping.

The tea category has rebounded from long period of decline. We have seen your efforts begin to show dividends. The key to building upon recent successes is to focus on areas of opportunity:

Capitalize on changes in consumer attitudes towards healthy products.

Capitalize on changes in consumer shopping habits by enacting creative marketing plans in non-traditional channels of distribution.

Fortify areas of strength within the more traditional outlet.

If we can accomplish this, our shared vision for the future will be bright.
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Title Annotation:Nielsen Marketing Research
Author:Nevitt, Jeff
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Previous Article:Hot coffee: the favorite drink in the land of ice.
Next Article:German tea imports reach record high.

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