Ice tea shows market strength

by Staff
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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Since 2001, the ice tea market at commercial food service outlets has grown at the same rate as the coffee market, according to The NPD Group.

The market information company said both beverage markets have increased by 12% since 2001 at commercial food service outlets. While coffee sales have grown in the quick-service restaurant segment, ice tea has taken off at both quick-service and causal dining restaurants.

Servings of ice tea have grown by nearly 500 million since 2004, and the growth has been especially strong in the last five years. Additionally, ice tea sales have increased during all meals times with the most in the morning and for evening snacks.

Bonnie Riggs, restaurant analyst for The NPD Group, said ice tea has been successful with limited marketing attention from restaurants. She said restaurants could be missing an opportunity to fully market the beverage to teenagers — a segment where market growth has been particularly strong — and marketing techniques could include focusing on perceived health benefits, flavor varieties and the perceived calming potential of the beverage.

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