Julia Buech, global food & drink analyst at Mintel says the RTD tea landscape is changing dramatically; having suffered for years from a ‘cheap’ and unhealthy image, the category is now undergoing a lifestyle makeover.
“Artisanal production attributes, such as cold brew, are helping create a new premium tier in the segment. Our research shows that cold brew is just emerging as an upscale taste and quality descriptor in RTD tea.
“Better-for-you innovations from major beverage companies are further boosting the development of the RTD tea category,” continued Buech.
Still niche, the ‘cold brew’ descriptor featured in just 1% of global RTD tea launches in 2017, according to Mintel GNPD, with Asia Pacific accounting for 55% of these introductions, followed by Europe with 25%.
In China, the door is open for tea to adopt an ‘energy drink’ status. As many as two in three (65%) drink RTD tea when doing outdoor sports (jogging, football, cycling) while 58% drink RTD tea when doing exercise at gym or sports centres.
In the UK, over one in five (22%) consumers are interested in seeing ‘energy-boosting’ as a health or functional benefit provided by tea.
“In a world that is becoming more health conscious, naturally functional drinks are ever more relevant. Tea consumers continue to show interest in products that can target specific ailments and provide diverse functions, from energy-boosting and anti-inflammatory to slimming and relaxing benefits.
“In this saturated field, ‘energy’ has grown in significance as a focus of innovation activity among tea companies and will continue to be a market with potential in the near future,” Buech concludes.