Innovation in tea is about so much more than just great flavour
As the second most popular drink in the world, next only to water, tea is universally loved across countries and continents.
Its global fanbase means it’s probably one of the most diverse beverages in terms of the serve – the British drink it warm with milk and sugar, while Americans prefer chilled and ready-to-drink varieties.
With a world of ways to enjoy it, the consumption of tea is booming. Its associated health and wellbeing benefits are thought to be one of the key drivers of its growth, along with ever-increasing demand in countries like India and China, where a new breed of wealthy consumers have turned it into a fashionable drink.
According to predictions, the global tea market is expected to grow by $12.62 billion between 2019-2023, almost a 5% compound annual growth rate.[i]
This unwavering demand has seen tea become one of the most innovative beverage categories in the global drinks industry.
When we say ‘innovation’ it’s natural to think of new flavours, blends and brews, and this is certainly true within tea. Exciting new infusions such as kombucha and matcha have captured the attention of trend-driven millennials, along with varieties and flavours which are perceived to be healthier, such as green tea and ginseng.
But there is also a second kind of innovation in the tea world which is missing from many other beverage categories. It’s an innovation driven by one of the buzz words of the moment – sustainability.
Consumers are paying more attention to the impact they – and the food and drink they enjoy – have on the world, both environmentally and socially. They are beginning to look for claims such as organic or naturally carbonated, and for sustainability credentials, such as recyclable and recycled packaging.
As a result, we are seeing more demand from global beverage brands for tea products to carry certifications which offer this peace of mind to consumers who are willing to pay for it.
At Treatt, five of our tea products which are used to create some of the most exciting beverages in the market have just achieved Rainforest Alliance (RA) Certification. This means that the farms where we source our tea leaves from meet the RA’s strict standards of adhering to environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
As part of the certification process, growing practices, conditions and land management are all scrutinised to ensure the farms are not endangering the local forestation, affecting the natural wildlife or negatively impacting on the local community.
What’s particularly interesting about the Rainforest Alliance Certification is that it also considers how the farms contribute to climate change, something which, even with the global pandemic currently clawing share of voice, remains a growing concern for consumers.
For some beverage manufacturers, being able to market their products as being Rainforest Alliance certified is an absolute must, and is just as important as other claims such as Kosher or Halal.
Over the next few years, it’s likely that we will see ethical claims become the new normal within the tea sector. As more and more beverage companies seek out those products, the more consumers will become aware of it and begin to expect it.
The drive towards sustainability is one of the most exciting things about the tea category. Flavour will never stop being important, but consumer expectation for their brands to act responsibly is a trend that is set to stay.
For more information about our range of tea products, visit www.treatt.com.