Turmeric, matcha & mushroom among specialty teas that are engaging Millennials and driving sales

Loading the player...

Sales of tea in the US continue to climb steadily, thanks in part to a big push from interest in specialty tea – especially by millennials, according to the Tea Association of America. 

It notes in its 2015 State of the US Tea Industry market review that sales of tea in the US in 2015 grew around 4-5% overall, and is expected to continue to grow at a compound annual rate of 5-6% in the next five years.

One of the major drivers of this growth is specialty tea, sales of which the trade group says are increasing 8-10%.

“Consumers, particularly Millennials, are becoming more engaged with products as they find delight in the discovery of new and differentiated flavors, ethnic or new cultural offerings such as craft selections,” according to the trade association. “Specialty tea sits in the bullseye of their target.”

Specialty teas, which are loose leaf teas and botanicals blended based on different cultures around the world are “riding along the same lines” as the third wave coffee and craft beer movements, which took off in the early 2000s, agreed Jeffrey Champeau, brand marketing manager at tea marketer Rishi.

He also noted that consumer interest in specialty teas is driven by their desire for products that offer appealing flavors but also added function and health benefits for the mind and body.

Turmeric and matcha are rising stars

Within the specialty tea category, Champeau sees significant growth potential among organic teas as well as those made with turmeric and matcha.

“Turmeric is certainly one of the hottest trends of the past one or two years in the tea market, at the food market overall really. It is so interesting because it’s a root that is related to ginger that’s growing all over Southeast Asia,” where the population has made herbal tonics, teas and concoctions with for thousands of years.

“It’s so cool to see the consumer market rediscovering this ancient wonder,” he added, noting that Rishi is making turmeric available in its new Turmeric Ginger Chia Concentrate, which “is a microbrew botanical elixir made with turmeric and ginger and lemon and is used as a versatile mixer” for refreshing tonics and cocktails.

Consumers particularly are drawn to the ingredient's energizing but naturally caffeine-free properties as well as its anti-inflammatory benefits derived from the curcumin in the ingredient.

Matcha continues to gather steam

“Matcha is the other really hot trend in tea right now,” Champeau said, explaining that it is a stone-ground powdered green tea.

Matcha is different from other teas in that people consume the entire tea leaf, rather than just an infusion from the leaf. As a result, Champeau said, “you get all of the energy, all of the antioxidants, all of the benefits of green tea” from the beverage.

Calling matcha to the “espresso of tea,” Champeau added that the beverage is “an awesome energy booster” and ideal for people looking to wean off coffee.

Nourishing tonics on the horizon

While turmeric and matcha are leading the pack for now, Rishi always is watching for the next big thing in tea. In this regard it has its eye on two emerging trends: season blends and savory, nourishing tonics, Champeau said.

He explained that at Rishi’s headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisc., the staff in the training and herbal research labs constantly experiment with new ingredients.

This winter the staff created a blend inspired by the Italian digestivo Amari, which showcased saffron from Afghanistan, cardamom and different aromatic herbs. The blend was a warming, soothing after-dinner tea ideal for cold winter nights after heavy meals, Champeau said.

He also noted that Rishi is working on “nourishing tonics” made with powdered mushrooms as the base.

“You can brew it like tea … or it could be a soup stock” that consumers can sip on similar to how increasingly popular bone broth is enjoyed, he said.

The company’s innovation illustrates that specialty teas can at once be based on ancient wisdom and tradition, and still meet the evolving trends that tempt today’s modern consumer. 

Related News

Banana water tastes better than coconut water,' Steuben Foods

Banana water is 'lighter and fresher than coconut water,' says Steuben Foods

10 things food marketers should know about Millennials

10 things food marketers should know about Millennials

Anheuser-Busch teams up with Starbucks to launch Teavana ready-to-drink teas in 2017

Anheuser-Busch teams up with Starbucks to launch Teavana ready-to-drink teas in 2017

Numi Organic Tea rides rising wave of turmeric’s & matcha’s popularity

Numi Organic Tea rides rising wave of turmeric’s & matcha’s popularity

Curcumin, which gives turmeric its yellow colour, is increasingly under the spotlight for its health benefits

Can moringa, amla and turmeric spur India towards superfoods success?

Photo courtesy of Aloha Medicinal.

Category growth helps mushroom supplement company secure expansion financing

Non-GMO seal for Taiyo’s matcha boosts transparency for multifunctional ingredient

Non-GMO seal for Taiyo’s matcha boosts transparency for multifunctional ingredient

PODCAST: What makes Millennials tick?

Shatavari is rising star in herbal tea, although turmeric & matcha still reign supreme, Pukka exec says

Shatavari is rising star in herbal tea, although turmeric & matcha still reign supreme, Pukka exec says

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum). Image: Eric Steinert

Reishi reigns! Mushroom products continue impressive growth in food and beverage space

U.S. tea sales climb as consumers seek healthy drinks & new flavors

U.S. tea sales climb as consumers seek healthy drinks & new flavors

Tea to flavor food products

More Americans are reaching for green tea, consumer survey reveals

More Americans are reaching for green tea, consumer survey reveals

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.