India was the world’s largest packaged tea market in 2017, consuming a total volume of 678,200 tonnes worth of packaged tea, followed by China in second place at 576,800 tonnes, according to research from market intelligence agency Mintel.
Turkey (173,400 tonnes), Russia (134,200 tonnes) and Japan (92,900 tonnes) complete the top five global ranking.
While India is the leading market for retail volume sales globally, Turkey takes the lead when it comes to per capita consumption. Behind Turkey, European countries feature strongly in the global per capita consumption ranking: the average Turkish consumer guzzled 2.15kg of packaged tea last year, followed by British consumers at 1.15kg, Russians at 0.91kg, Japanese at 0.74kg, and Germans at 0.67kg.
Mintel associate director of food and drink Loris Li said: “Traditionally, Chinese consumers prefer fresh tea in loose formats, so it makes sense that our research shows that India is ahead of China as the world’s leading retail packaged tea market.”
Indeed, Mintel research reveals that in 2017 most Chinese consumers (78%) were frequent users of freshly brewed loose tea. Ready-to-drink (RTD) tea drinks also enjoy high penetration in China, with half (49%) of Chinese consumers identified as frequent RTD tea drinkers. Tea bags, on the other hand, are frequently enjoyed by 45% of these Chinese respondents.
According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), hot tea launches in Asia Pacific accounted for 27% of all global new tea product launches in 2017, while RTD tea launches in in Asia Pacific accounted for 13% of these global tea launches.
Hot tea introductions in Europe accounted for 30% of the world’s new tea launches in 2017, while European RTD tea launches represent 7% of these launches. Meanwhile, North American hot tea launches accounted for 4% of the global pie of overall tea launches, while RTD tea launches take up 3% of this share.
Julia Buech, global food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: “Although hot tea continues to be the biggest tea subcategory globally, RTD tea has started to build its base in the global tea market—following the same developments seen in the global coffee market. The RTD tea landscape is changing dramatically; having suffered for years from a cheap and unhealthy image, the category is now undergoing a lifestyle makeover.
“Artisanal production attributes, such as cold brew, are helping create a new premium tier in the segment. Our research shows that cold brew is just emerging as an upscale taste and quality descriptor in RTD tea. Better for you innovations from major beverage companies are further boosting the development of the RTD tea category.”
Still niche, the cold brew descriptor featured in just 1% of global RTD tea launches in 2017, according to Mintel GNPD, with Asia Pacific accounting for 55% of these introductions, followed by Europe with 25%.
Finally, in a cluttered field of functional claims, energy has grown as a focus of innovation. Mintel GNPD shows that in 2017, teas described as energy-boosting accounted for 11% of all functional tea introductions globally, up from 9% in 2015.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018