Four International RTD Tea Trends to Watch
ROCKVILLE, Md. — A growing number of U.S. consumers are willing to try ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages from all over the world.
As cross-cultural beverage developments continue, the segment most on trend for multicultural inspiration is tea, according to Packaged Facts' report U.S. Beverage Market Outlook 2018.
"Teas are a beverage category in which the appeal of foreign ingredients plays a role," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "U.S. tea consumers are currently enjoying the varieties, such as matcha, moringa and sencha, that have long been staples of Japanese and other Asian cultures. In the U.S. these are marketed as individual types and also used as components in tea beverages that have additionally flavored with fruits and spices.
"Each of these teas also are favored for their widely recognized health benefits, which is attractive to today's consumers who are trending away from surgery soft drinks and juices," he added.
The report identified four international tea trends to watch that will help drive growth in the U.S. tea market from $8 billion in 2017 to $10 billion by 2022:
Popular in China and Japan, this form of green tea has high concentrations of potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and C and fiber. It also has high levels of L-theanine, an amino acid that reportedly has a calming effect and substantial amounts of caffeine. Health benefits include strengthening the immune system and providing an energy boost.
In 2017, Unilever added its first-ever home-brewed matcha teas to its pure Leaf line of hot and iced tea products.
With origins in India, moringa is made from the leaves of the moringa oleifera tree, which is rich in antioxidants. Moringa's attributed benefits include: increased energy and rapid recovery after exercise; mental and emotional balance; and healthy blood sugar levels. Moringa tea is primarily available for brewing.
This variety of green tea is relatively new to the U.S. market but is considered the most popular tea in Japan, where it originates. Reportedly containing more antioxidants than matcha, sencha is available in leaf and powder form as loose tea and in tea bags.
Many brands currently sold in the U.S. are Japanese imports, but some U.S. companies also offer sencha.
Mizudashi (cold pressed tea process)
The adoption of the cold brew has begun to spread from RTD coffee to tea. As with coffee, the cold brewing process results in a beverage reported to be smoother and less bitter. It is also said to better preserve the tea's health benefits than does preparing it via hot brewing.
In 2017, Japanese tea marketer ITO EN launched a lineup of ice-steeped cold brew RTD teas in the U.S.