Herbal Tea Is Catching On Globally

Matthew Barry

Herbal tea has greatly increased in popularity in recent years, due in large part to a growing consumer interest in wellness. Matthew Barry, a senior beverages analyst with Euromonitor International specializing in global trends in non-alcoholic beverages, studies herbal tea’s increasing influence in the beverage market. “Herbal tea has a very unique role to play in beverage consumption,” said Barry, who will speak at the World Tea Expo.

Herbal tea is naturally calorie and sugar-free and the category offers myriad flavors, blend options, and functions. The versatile product category appeals to a broad spectrum of consumers, from the ailing to the athletic.  

Bottled water is the beverage benefiting most from the wellness trend, but herbal tea is a close beneficiary, rounding out the top three after coffee, Barry said.

Herbal tea’s growth is concentrated in six markets around the world: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Brazil. “Canada is probably ahead of the U.S. It has been very aggressive in shifting away from black tea and toward the herbals,” said Barry, who attributes this trend to the higher prevalence of specialist retailers in Canada, some of which create their own innovative blends that taste good. However, Germany has the world’s largest herbal tea market.

Whereas consumption of camellia sinensis is growing (especiallyamong young people) almost entirely in tea-producing regions such as the MiddleEast, South Asia and parts of Africa, Barry added.

A current trend in herbal tea marketing and consumer choiceis the shift in focus from a specific ingredient, such as peppermint, to aspecific purpose. Herbal teas are currently more often being marketed asfunctional blends with particular uses, such as Organic India’s “Balance”tea—a blend of ginger, peppermint, licorice, tulsi and probiotic cultures—thatis meant to support digestive health.

This functional focus is catching on in markets traditionally known for their coffee consumption, such as Brazil. “Which is unusual,” said Barry, “because Latin America is not a big tea market in general, but there is a real interest in these functional benefits.”

Barry will delve deeper into the herbal tea market in hisWorld Tea Expo session, TheHerbal Tea Outlook in North America. “I hope attendees will understandhow important herbal tea has become to the tea market overall and understandhow it fits into the larger health and wellness picture that goes far beyondbeverages and touches on every aspects of consumer lifestyles these days,” saidBarry.

These are the top 5 herbal tea brands in terms of retail value the United States according to Euromonitor International:

  • Yogi Tea (East West Tea Co LLC)
  • Traditional Medicinals
  • Herbalife Nutrition
  • Bigelow
  • Lipton (Unilever Group)
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Dive Deeper in this World Tea Expo Session

The Herbal Tea Outlook in North America will cover how herbal tea is the largest segment of hot tea growth in America and explores its many uses and evolving landscape, Thursday, June 13, 2019, 8:30 a.m - 9:30 a.m. in Room N261.