A recently published state of the U.S. Tea industry from the Tea Association of the U.S.A., Inc. reported not only how tea imports have increased in recent years, but how consumer demand is growing.
According to Joseph Simrany, president of the Tea Association of the U.S.A., Inc., tea imports reached a record breaking 281 million pounds in 2011 with a dollar value for wholesale tea up 5 percent to $8.2 billion. The tea trend growing the most is ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages.
"Within the tea industry there are segments that are faring better than others with RTD and Specialty Tea on top of the list," said Simrany in a prepared statement.
Ready-to-drink trend continues
The RTD segment has been growing in the last few years. The RTD Tea in the U.S. report, from Research and Markets, showed RTD tea sales grew 7 percent in total value and 8 percent in total volume terms in 2011. The report also noted that health-oriented consumers are choosing RTD tea over other soft drinks due to its perceived health properties, like antioxidants. An additional appeal to health-conscious consumers is that unsweetened RTD teas typically have no calories.
The health benefits surrounding tea are adding to the movement. Black tea has been shown to reduce blood pressure, reduce diabetes and be good for the heart. Green tea has a long list of health benefits as well.
Single-cup brewing systems aid growth
The prevalence of single cup brewers has also helped push up tea sales because now tea is can be brewed in the same equipment as coffee and is available in similar packaging. It creates an easy way to offer consumers more variety. Being able to use the cartridges over ice to make iced tea has increased the demand further.
In the past tea might not have gotten recognition, but in 2013 consumers are expected to be demanding more of it. It's definitely a product to consider when swapping out slow sellers in the beverage category.