ROCKVILLE, MD. — When reaching for refreshment, more consumers are looking to travel with their taste buds, according to market research firm Packaged Facts, and tea may be just the ticket. A growing number of U.S. consumers are willing to try beverages from all over the world, and tea is the segment most on trend for multicultural inspiration.
“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. These teas also are favored for their widely recognized health benefits, which is attractive to today’s consumers who are trending away from sugary soft drinks and juices.”
The U.S. tea market is set to grow to $10 billion in 2022 from $8 billion in 2017, Packaged Facts forecasts, and four international tea trends may play a key role in driving that upward trajectory.
Matcha tea, which is popular in China and Japan, is a green tea packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber and vitamins A and C. It also contains L-theanine, an amino acid said to produce a calming effect while still providing caffeine, Packaged Facts said. In 2017, Unilever P.L.C. launched matcha and matcha ginger tea under its Pure Leaf home-brewed teas brand.
Moringa tea originates from India and is made from the leaves of the moringa oleifera tree. Moringa is rich in antioxidants and offers increased energy, rapid recovery after exercise, mental and emotional balance, and healthy blood sugar levels, Packaged Facts said. Terrasoul Superfoods and The Republic of Tea offer ready-to-brew moringa tea varieties.
Sencha tea, a green tea considered to be the most popular tea in Japan where it originates, is reported to contain more antioxidants than matcha. The tea is available in leaf and powder form, as loose tea and in tea bags, Packaged Facts said. Currently, most brands sold in the United States are imported from Japan, but a few companies such as Full Leaf Tea Co. and Harney & Sons Fine Teas also offer the beverage.
Mizudashi is a cold-pressed tea process from Japan. The cold-brewed method produces a beverage that is smoother and less bitter than those brewed by traditional methods, Packaged Facts said, and it better preserves the health benefits of the tea. In 2017, Japanese tea marketer ITO EN launched a lineup of ice-steeped cold brew ready-to-drink teas in the United States.