Tea Trends 2019

T e a T r e n d s 2 0 1 9

What changes will we see in tea for 2019?


Private brands account for up to 45% of market share in parts of Europe. The US is predicted to reach 25% in ten years or fewer. For private brand tea, it is not IF but WHEN the US catches up with Europe’s levels. Grocers and supermarkets are feeling the effects and beginning to respond. Major on-premise and tea retail brands are placing their teas on the store shelf, with potentially damaging results. The impact will ripple to coffee shops as well, where Millennials expect to get CRAFTED coffee AND tea. But the primary arena for packaged tea will be the grocery store, where about 80% of all tea gets purchased.

What will the national brands offer that private brands can’t?

How will on-premise (e.g. coffee shops) keep up with the increased innovation and options that consumers will expect?


“Attempts” is the optimal word. National brands with established reputations are trying to jump on the wellness bandwagon. Popular tea purveyors who have fought hard for years to become the go-to brand that consumers associate with concepts like “cheap-and-cheerful” and “classic good character” are now trying to add an experience of wellness through a line of functional teas. This approach is actually subtraction when messages get mixed. Consumers know and trust brands precisely because of the concept their brand represents, and that established reputation gets diluted and weakened with add-on claims. Savvy players in the field avoided this trap by creating new tea brands and distinct lines with a new message of health and wellness.

Why choose between flavor & function? For years, health/beauty and household items have been combining benefits and attractive features. Why can’t your Earl Grey have great taste + added wellness ingredient?


The door is opened wider to the application of CBD to tea. But farmers cannot simply throw seed in the ground and launch a new hemp farm, so regulations will likely keep access to CBD materials from skyrocketing overnight. If the race wasn’t on already, look for new brands and new products seeking to incorporate the right tea, the right flavor and the right dosage (active cbd) per serving.


Classics like keemun will still be in demand, but China, already a green tea powerhouse, is on a steady trajectory to increased production (and domestic consumption). Don’t expect any remnants of trade war talk to impact Chinese tea imports to the US.