Iced Tea makers look to ‘health’ marketing platform, Innova research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th March 2015
Iced Tea makers look to ‘health’ marketing platform, Innova research
Iced Tea makers look to ‘health’ marketing platform, Innova research

Despite rising levels of interest in recent years, ready-to-drink (RTD) or iced teas still accounted for a relatively modest 7.5 per cent share of global soft drinks launches recorded by market research organisation Innova Market Insights in 2014. However, iced tea manufacturers have had some success marketing their products on ‘health’ basis.

Innova Market Insights said developments in the Iced Tea category included the launch of more sophisticated products in relatively established markets, such as the US, and the move to more mainstream initiatives in very underdeveloped markets, such as the UK.

Growth due to search for alternatives to carbonated soft drinks

According to Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, the growth of the Iced Tea category can largely be attributed to the consumer search for alternatives to sugar-rich carbonated beverages alongside an increasing emphasis on the health properties of tea.

“Over 62 per cent of global iced tea launches made at least one health claim of some kind, rising to over 88 per cent in the US,” Ms Williams said. “Tea’s use as an added flavour or functional ingredient has also become increasingly common in other soft drinks, such as fruit drinks and enhanced waters, raising awareness and drawing new consumers into the market,” she said.

Developments in the US

In the US, the canned and bottled tea market is well-established and is led by well-known brands such as AriZona, Lipton and Snapple.

However, Innova Market Insights said ambient lines were now increasingly competing with refrigerated or chilled tea drinks, and the leading brands have had to focus on maintaining interest via new product activity and promotional activity. Market leader AriZona, for example, launched a novel range of Oak Brewed Teas in 2014, made with black tea aged in American oak barrels.

Europe sees some success with health marketing

In Europe, companies have long struggled to get ready-to-drink teas into the UK market, according to Innova Market Insights. UK consumers traditionally brew their own tea and drink it hot and interest in recent years has focused more on rising consumption of green tea.

However, the focus on taste and health refreshment does now appear to be having slightly more success among younger consumers, however, and levels of new product activity have been rising.

As for Continental Europe, iced tea is slightly more established as a drink, mainly in canned format. However, Innova Market Insights found that the use of bottles was rising and the market had seen the arrival of a number of chilled milk-based tea lines in lidded cups, just as the iced coffee market has developed in that format.

Interest in the German iced tea market was also reflected in the launch of flavoured water drinks featuring tea from Lichtenauer under the Fresh’n FruiTEA name; fruit drinks featuring white tea from the Hohes C fruit drink brand; and the test-marketing of Italy’s leading bottled iced tea product, Estathé from Ferrero, in selected test regions.

Other ‘health’ claims grow

Elsewhere on the market, Innova Market Insights said there was also a focus on calorie reduction, featuring low-calorie and reduced-sugar launches.

Stevia sweeteners have been used for a number of products, including Little Miracles’ Rooibos Tea, Elderflower, Ginger, Ginseng, Agave drink and Virtue Ice Tea drinks.

Innova Market Insights found that alternative products featuring Rooibos, Matcha and Kombucha were also increasingly in evidence, while a number of bubble tea drinks featuring green teas and fruit teas were also introduced.