As we look forward to a brighter 2022, we’re excited about the growth in interest surrounding tea, as well as the growth in interest in herbal and wellness blends. The past two years has been bright for the industry, with more people becoming focused on health and wellbeing. This has been especially true for consumer industries focused on the use and benefits of tea and herbals.
Innovation in new products incorporating the use of tea is at an all-time high. There is also raised awareness of the health benefits of consuming teas and herbal blends as a means to support a healthier life, regulate energy levels, and to promote a feeling of calm.
Going forward, consumers are continuing their interest in a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing, and see tea and herbals as a great way to support this: Approximately seventy percent of Australians believe antioxidants are beneficial to human health, and find it appealing when they are incorporated into a beverage. Tea is seen as a fantastic source of these antioxidants.
There has been an increase of plant-based products released into the market, particularly plant-based milk varieties like almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk. This has created a need for an improved variety of teas and chai blends which will work harmoniously with these plant-based milks.
Tea has experienced growth in a huge variety of areas
Tea is now being used in food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, personal care, household care and pet care. I believe manufacturers will continue to utilise the health benefits and unique flavour profile of the teas and herbals available to promote and develop new opportunities in the market.
There is also a growth in interest in single origin teas, as well as the small farmers behind them and their stories. This is seen particularly alongside good cafés which already serve specialty coffee. We believe this will continue to evolve as these cafés and hospitality venues create specialty tea menus to match their primary specialty coffee offerings.
Regarding the food industry, the evolution of tea as just a hot drink to being used in cooking has been very rapid. We are now seeing tea utilised for culinary purposes across many different sectors of the hospitality industry. The growth in home cooking over the past few years has seen people become more innovative and excited to cook and prepare food using new ingredients like tea, and experiment with a variety of new flavours. Matcha has become a favourite in the dessert, chocolate, and baking sector.
We are constantly receiving enquiries for tea and herbal blends to be developed for use in bases for non-alcoholic beverages. These enquiries frequently specify that the base should have a functional quality, such as support for mental wellbeing or immune boosting benefits. Non-alcoholic wines and low-alcohol wines are now available in bottle shops, so this sector is experiencing rapid growth. “Dry January” and “Dry July” are now promoted annually in many countries as the focus on health living increases.
The consumption of sugary carbonated drinks in a can or bottle is decreasing rapidly, and instead the use of natural sweeteners, natural fruit extracts, herbal infusions, wellness blends, and functional brews is increasing and being bottled and canned in their place. Still and sparkling brews are both popular, and some innovative brewers are even using the addition of nitrogen to charge the beverage with bubbles upon opening.
The growth in the use of green tea in the alcoholic sector has been exciting as bartenders and mixologists experiment with different teas in cocktails, kombucha, natural bitters, tea syrups and iced tea infusions. In the alcoholic manufacturing sector, we see tea being used as a base for gins, tea wines, vodka, and liqueurs.
In the personal care sector, tea is a great choice because of its antioxidant properties and its natural reported anti-aging compounds, which make for a great inclusion in cosmetics. “Clean beauty” is one of the leading trends in personal care and green tea makes an excellent ingredient in beauty product formulas.
It has long been popular, particularly in the Korean and Japanese market, to use green tea in cosmetics, and now the western market embraces tea extract as an appealing additive in beauty care based on its purported health and anti-aging benefits. Hair shampoos, conditioners and hair masks which are formulated to regenerate the hair by using green tea extract have been experiencing growth and becoming very popular as well.
Tea is also being introduced in the household care market in both cleaning products and in pet care due to its fresh and natural scent. In some countries we have seen tea even being used in washing liquids as an aid to remove bacteria from fruit and vegetables.
New and easier technology for home and café brewing allows a person to have the know how to brew using the correct water temperature and brewing time and will make it easier for people to enjoy tea in a simpler way.
Green tea is even being touted as a hangover cure, giving you more energy, mental clarity, and reducing stress. What more can one ask for?
I believe the CBD sector will be an interesting one to watch grow as it becomes more acceptable in more markets globally, and is able to be blended with tea. Herbal teas like Guayusa, mushroom powders, Ayurvedic ingredients like Tulsi, immune boosting Olive Leaf, and the words “Vitamin rich” will be included more and more in blends as the sector experiences growth and expands.
Exotic ingredients such as our own Australian native ingredients like Kakadu Plum plus new and unique flavours like Lemon Myrtle, Finger Lime, Davidson Plum, and Strawberry Gum are gaining interest globally due to their high vitamin content and immune boosting properties. The addition of collagen to teas and powdered wellness beverages is experiencing rapid growth and is now a natural inclusion into special powder tea bags to help support skin and joints.
The requirement for packaging to be biodegradable has become an industry standard, but the past two years has seen organic certification requests decrease.
The take away
Whether tea is in a tea bag or packed loose leaf, blended with wellness ingredients, single origin, or just an added ingredient, my prediction is to watch the tea sector flourish as a result of its growth in 2022. Take note of ingredient listings and I am sure that you will see the simple words of “contains tea extract” appear many times over in the world around us.