One of the most underdeveloped beverages in the United States, tea barely compares in size to beverage categories such as carbonated soft drinks, coffee, and water. Americans’ growing interest in wellness, however, is starting to change that. Tea’s good-for-you, all-natural halo and lower-than-coffee-or-cola caffeine content complement today’s health-aware consumer, particularly the older generation. A functional beverage, tea fits into the well-established movement among aging Baby Boomers to seek out foods and beverages that promise wellness and anti-aging effects.
Tea also has an advantage over other beverages in its diversity. Packaged Facts projects that by 2012, specialty tea, which currently makes up 36% of the overall market, will command half of all tea and ready-to-drink tea sales in the United States.
“As more flavors and packaging options enter the market, tea and ready-to-drink teas are increasingly securing a position as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks,” notes Tatjana Meerman, the publisher of Packaged Facts. “The days of the generic black tea bag are gone and the chai, yerba mate, rooibos and other specialty teas that Boomers are consuming in mass quantities are here to stay.”