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U.S. tea sales top $1 billion once again.

U.S. consumption of tea posted new gains as consumer interest in a healthier lifestyle continued to motivate beverage choices in 1992, reported Joseph P. Simrany, executive director of the Tea Council of the U.S.A.

On any given day, a record 127 million Americans--almost half of the entire population--are drinking tea, consuming more than 48 billion six ounce servings annually. This new report is based on research conducted by Nielsen Marketing Research and Price Waterhouse.

Away-from-home tea consumption in restaurants and other foodservice outlets, continued to post strong gains in 1992, growing 8.2% over 1991 to at least 12.7 billion servings*, for an almost 20% increase over the prior two-year period. Simrany noted that tea is becoming a beverage of choice in restaurants across the country.

Consumer supermarket purchases of tea surpassed a record $1 billion for the second consecutive year, while sales at non-food retail outlets, representing some 10% of all volume retail tea sales, jumped by at least 36% to 3.3 billion servings.*

"Consumer awareness and acceptance of tea first surged in 1991 as Americans embraced more active, healthier lifestyles and all-natural beverages," Simrany reported, "and the trend towards tea is continuing."

The year 1991 marked a significant milestone for tea, when supermarket sales alone surpassed the $1 billion mark, posting the biggest jump in nearly a decade. Last year, several major beverage companies introduced new tea products directed towards the more health conscious consumer, including the increasingly popular 'Ready-to-Drink' liquid iced teas.

"Ready-To-Drink" sales soar

Quickly gaining acceptance, the new "Ready-To-Drink" canned, bottled, or aseptically-packaged liquid tea is leading the industry as the fastest growing tea product. "Ready-to-Drink" tea represents 7% of total U.S. tea sales, and is growing

Last year, liquid tea sales in supermarkets alone, accounting for 16.7 million gallons, or 357.7 million servings,* represented a 44% dollar increase to $84.8 million from $58.9 million in 1991.

More retail outlets selling tea

"Consumers are asking for tea at more types of retail outlets than ever before, and for several good reasons," Simrany noted. "Tea is an all-natural, relaxing, and refreshing thirst-quencher that helps keep you fit and trim. It is a smart beverage choice that is perfectly compatible with the trend towards healthier lifestyles and overall well-being."

Simrany reported that consumers are now purchasing tea from the full spectrum of retail outlets, including supermarkets, small food stores, convenience stores, warehouse clubs, mass merchandisers, drug stores, and vending machines. Some 70-80% of all tea consumed is iced.

Decafs & iced tea mixes gain in supermarkets

In supermarkets, the steady growth in consumer demand for tea focuses primarily on tea bags, decaffeinated teas, herbal tea bags, and iced tea mixes, according to the Nielsen study.

Consumer purchases of tea bags held steady, accounting for 60% of all tea in terms of pound sales and posting 2% increases--in terms of gallon sales--in both the East and South. Purchases of decaffeinated tea bags increased 4% to 100 million gallons or $106 million. Iced tea mixes advanced 3% over the year-ago period, topping 356 million gallons--7.5 billion servings-- or $295 million. Gallon sales jumped 7% in the West, 5% in the South, and 4% in Central U.S. Herbal tea bags, rebounding from a 2% loss in 1991, posted a 5% increase to 58.7 million gallons or $104 million. Regionally, gallon sales jumped 14% in the South, 5% in Central U.S., and 3% in both the East and West.

The positive trends reflect retail grocery sales of tea as measured by Nielsen's 1992 nationally projectable sample of 3,000 stores representing 31,000 supermarkets with annual sales of $2 million or more. The survey covers 82% of total grocery all commodity volume. The trends also reflect restaurant-foodservice sales of tea as measured by Price Waterhouse's 1992 sample of tea sold directly to the foodservice industry.

Nielsen Marketing Research, based in Northbrook, Ill., has operations in over 29 countries worldwide, and is a company of the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (DNB), the world's largest supplier of information and related services.

Tea facts from the U.S. tea Council

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, nearly 127 million people, or almost helf of all Americans, are drinking tea.

Annual tea consumption in 1992 amounted to 2.25 billion gallons, equal to 48 billion 6-ounce servings, 97% of which is Black tea. americans consume about 127 million cups or glasses per day, and 95.5 million of these are over ice.

Americans consumed a record 1.6-1.8 billion gallons, or 33-35 billion glasses of iced tea in 1992. Iced tea is jumping in popularity, and now represents 70-80% of all tea consumed in the U.S.

Ready-to-Drink iced teas are the fastest growing tea products, representing 7% of all U.S. retail tea sales, or some 357 million servings* purchased in supermarkets alone.

The 1992 consumption figures for teabags, loose tea, and iced tea mixes include 15.5 billion tea bags, 19.5 million gallons of loose tea, and 5.7 billion glasses of ice tea mix.

the year 1992 was the second consecutive year in almost a decade that consumer purchases of tea increased. retail supermarket sales alone surpassed the $1 billion mark, outperforming the growth rate of coffee, frozen juices & drinks, and powdered soft ddrinks. Away-from-home consumption increases 9.2% to 18l1 billion* servings.

The industry anticipates strong, continuous growth over the next five years. Annual growth, for example, in the $400 million ready-to-drink convenience iced tea market alone (supermarkets and all other retail outlets) jumped more than 44% in 1992 dollars sales and will, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., continues to grow at 15-20% annually.**

Tea is low in caffeine. A cup of tea, for example, contains between one third and one-half (33%-50%) the caffeine in a cup of coffee--depending on the type of tea used and the brewing time.

The industry estimeates that cost per serving is about three cents per serving, cup or glass.

* Represents six ounce servings

** The Wall Street Journal, January 17, 1992.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article on tea facts
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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