2012 RTD Tea in the U.S.

2012 RTD Tea in the U.S.

Published: October 2012
Publisher: Beverage Marketing Corporation
Product ref: 150814
Pages: 261
Format: PDF
Delivery: By product vendor

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This report examines the total U.S. tea market with a focus on ready-to-drink tea. It provides data on regional markets as well as leading companies and brands for the New Age beverage segment. RTD tea packaging, distribution, advertising expenditures and demographics are discussed in detail. The report also projects the market five years into the future. Also covers kombucha. New for 2012: Includes diet vs. regular RTD tea trends.

Report extract:

Specialty teas such as green tea, herbal tea and chai that have provided verve to the hot tea market, have also found their way into the RTD tea segment. These so-called superpremium teas emerged in part to fill a vacuum in the existing marketplace.

  • Green tea has a more healthful image than black tea, a fact recognized by Arizona when it released its line of green teas, which are among the company's most successful products.
  • As in other beverage segments where consolidation has taken place, new RTD tea entrants may need to find an unfulfilled niche in an attempt to differentiate themselves.
  • Foremost among these, at least in the public eye, has been Honest Tea, started in Bethesda, Maryland, by a financial services executive, Seth Goldman, and his business school professor Barry Nalebuff.
  • Goldman began with some home-brewed teas in unlabeled Snapple bottles that he took to the local Whole Foods buyer. Offered in intriguing flavors like Moroccan Mint and offering a lower sweetness level than conventional iced teas, the line went beyond the "all natural" claim of entries like Snapple to certified organic status, offering a strong differentiator, easing its way into natural foods stores and offering a nod of reassurance to consumers for whom organic, like kosher before it, may be becoming a general badge of quality. Honest Tea has also fostered an image of social responsibility that appeals to those upscale consumers who may be attracted to such a concept.
  • Japanese company Ito-En has also targeted consumers looking for "better" products. Following the example of Honest Tea, which demonstrated that not all consumers are seeking teas that are drowned in sweetness, Ito-En introduced a line of unsweetened green teas that found unexpected consumer acceptance.
  • These superpremium teas appeal to consumers who might not otherwise purchase RTD tea, thus providing an increasingly significant, incremental volume increase to the segment. Even beyond their actual volume contribution, superpremium teas have improved the image of RTD tea and have helped push the larger players to make RTD products better in terms of ingredients and health bona fides.
  • For example, Coca-Cola developed a premium brand styled Gold Peak, which made modest inroads into the market and began to grow at a brisker pace in 2011. Perhaps more significantly, Coca-Cola took a 40% stake in Honest Tea several years ago and wrested complete ownership of the company in February 2011.

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Related research categories

By sector: Ready-to-drink, Tea (in Hot drinks)

By market: United States (in North America)


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