RTD Tea Sales Increase Globally, Poised for Innovation
Market research firm Canadean recently released a report underscoring the growth of RTD tea globally. In particular, growth has been driven by markets in North America, Europe and Asia. Despite the growth in North America, China remains the leading RTD market. Notwithstanding, North America RTD sales are expected to continue to exceed sales in Europe by a growing margin.
RTD tea growth has been more than 15 fold over the course of the last decade. In fact. the RTD tea market reached $5.3 billion in U.S. sales and $50 billion in sales globally in 2014, boasting a growth rate of 3.7% in the U.S. Some experts anticipate the growth rate to persist or exceed 6% annually until 2018. This growth is largely attributed to consumer demand for convenience and increasing interest in health and wellness. As soft drink sales decline, tea is being embraced as a healthy alternative. North American consumers are more and more inclined to reject sugar in their dietary choices. Many RTD tea brands are recognizing this trend and are promoting organic, unsweetened and diet varieties.
Beverage companies of all sizes are jockeying for position in the RTD market space. PepsiCo currently holds a 40% market share of the RTD space while Coca-Cola currently claims slightly more than 5% with brands such as Fuze and Gold Peak. Dr. Pepper’s Snapple currently holds roughly 8% of the market. While the large, incumbent beverage companies are seeking more position, smaller, entrepreneurial brands are emerging with new innovations. Company Jade Monk is seeking to capitalize on the latest consumer interest in matcha with a line of cold-processed RTD matcha. Matcha’s popularity is growing rapidly as evidenced by increased demand at the source. In the Kyoto prefecture, home to a large production volume of matcha, the number of ground tencha leaves more than doubled from 2003 (564 tons) to 2013 (1,163 tons). In addition to matcha, other innovations will emerge and seek to appeal to new market segments. An example of this is Little Me Tea, a line of fruit juice fortified teas for kids.