Long celebrated in Asia for its multiplicity of health benefits, green tea has received much attention in Western markets over recent years as consumers become increasingly concerned with overall health and wellness. However, “green” is not everyone’s cup of tea. To appeal to a broad range of consumers, beverage manufacturers in various segments have become more creative with their uses of green tea in beverage formulations. According to Mintel Global New Products (GNPD), global beverages incorporating green tea increased by more than 56% from 2004 to 2007, indicating that global interest in this antioxidant-rich ingredient is increasing.
To appeal to a broader audience of tea and non-tea drinkers alike, many manufacturers globally have formulated carbonated beverages with green tea extracts and flavoring to create unique hybrid offerings. Because green tea is light in flavor, it is an ideal accompaniment to an array of beverages, including soda, carbonated juice and sparkling water.
In Greece, Coca-Cola recently introduced Fanta Verdia, a new extension of the Fanta brand that is made with green apple juice and green tea extracts. Positioned as a healthier alternative to traditional Fanta drinks that are known for their high sugar content, Fanta Verdia is a slightly carbonated juice drink that is free of sodium and low in sugar.
In the United States, the Healthy Beverage Co. revamped its Steaz Green Tea Soda line with new and exotic flavors. Boasting an organic, vegan and fair trade-certified formulation, the Diet Steaz Sparkling Green Tea line is available in blueberry-pomegranate, orange, raspberry and black cherry flavors, all of which are infused with the natural goodness of green tea.
As the virtues of green tea consumption continue to be explored, it is no surprise that this ingredient has quickly found its way into the sports and energy drink sector. Touted for its inherent energizing effects, green tea is an ideal natural replacement for traditional sports and energy drink ingredients that are often associated with unpleasant flavor and potential side effects.
In the United States, Fuel Cell Lemon Green Tea Sugar-free Energy Shooter can be consumed straight from the bottle or mixed with cocktails, soda, juice or water. Fuel Cell Energy Shots are also available in juicy citrus, wild berry and tropical fruit flavors, all of which are fortified with green tea extract, minerals, electrolytes, vitamins and guarana. In the Czech Republic, Nutrend Thermo Booster Green Tea and Elderflower Sport Drink is a sugar-free, non-carbonated beverage positioned for active men; it contains green tea and L-carnitine to create an energizing, fat burning effect.
As consumer interest in new and exciting cocktails persists, both the retail and food service sectors have experimented with an array of ingredients not typically associated with alcoholic beverages. Although retail libations haven’t dabbled too heavily in green tea flavors yet, it is likely that more beverages in the sector will embrace this ingredient as a unique flavor component in spirits, flavored alcoholic beverages and beer.
Launched in July 2008 in the United States, Saké2me Green Tea Junmai Saké claims to be the first bottled drink to blend pure, premium imported Junmai saké with all-natural Asian flavors for a lightly sparkling, refreshing taste. The green tea has notes of lemongrass and honey to compliment the sake, which contains no sulfites and is naturally brewed with no distilled alcohol. In Canada, a similar flavored alcoholic beverage was recently launched, this time incorporating the goodness of pomegranate with green tea. Woody’s Pomtini Pomegranate & Green Tea Alcoholic Fruit Drink is a summertime cooler that boasts a unique and refreshing formulation.
Green tea use in the beverage category continues to grow, with global product introductions in 2008 poised to far exceed those of last year. As consumers continue to be concerned with overall health and wellness, the demand for products incorporating green tea is likely to continue this trajectory. Its light flavor and scent make this ingredient a prime addition to beverages in diverse categories, and the inherent goodness of green tea provides healthy clout to beverages that may not otherwise be considered salutary choices.Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For more information, visit www.mintel.com or call 1-312-932-0600.