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Consumption of iced tea is on the rise

27 March 2017

Global consumption of iced tea increased 5% in 2016 to 37 billion litres, according to a new report from Zenith Global. its growth has been above the soft drinks average over the past five years and is expected to exceed 45 billion litres by 2021. 

Ready to drink iced tea delivers added variety and convenience." Tea is renowned for being healthy and refreshing,” said Richard Hall, chairman at Zenith.

Across all regions, greater product variety has been an important element in developing sales. Innovation themes encompass new products, reformulations, an expanding range of flavours, different tea types, functional benefits, sweetness options and all kinds of pack types and sizes.

North America and Europe, which account for 24% of global consumption, have created opportunities for less sweet tastes, with new blends coming to the fore. Reduced sugar content and new tea types, such as Matcha, Kombucha and Yerba Mate, have spurred interest in the category, as has a move towards natural, organic and fair trade ingredients.

In Asia Pacific, the leading region for iced tea sales, functionality remains at the forefront of innovation, focusing on digestive, heart and skin health – the latter being most popular among young consumers. In Asian countries, there is also mounting interest in niche tea types as well as premium products. In Pacific countries, innovation is more aligned with trends in the West.

Having emerged more recently, the markets in Latin America and the Middle East are being propelled by iced tea's image as a healthy alternative to carbonated soft drinks. Key trends include the introduction of familiar fruit flavours and new pack sizes, as well as low sugar options. 

"Ready to drink tea is the biggest of the emerging soft drinks categories by volume growth. It is also remarkable for the extraordinary range of choice now being offered," Richard Hall concluded.

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