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Tea Flavors: Not Just for Beverages Anymore

Posted: September 15, 2008

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No longer are teas solely available in their customary format as a hot or iced beverage. Over the past year several manufacturers have introduced tea-based ingredients in their food brands. Tea’s appearance in non-beverage products communicates its versatility to other segments. For manufacturers choosing to leverage their existing brands with health claims, the incorporation of tea proves wise.

In the United States, the healthy food mainstreamer Kashi introduced its Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat Cereal with white tea extracts. Several cereals formulated with green tea have appeared in the market; however, Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat is the first to contain white tea. White tea was included in the brand’s ingredient list to promote healthy arteries. This ingredient truly differentiates Kashi’s cereal product from other brands positioned for cardiovascular health.

Tea for the Sweet Tooth

Desserts are most ideal for flavor experimentation by manufacturers and restaurants; individuals are generally more open to tasting non-traditional offerings in this segment. Because some tea blends are inherently sweet or capable of becoming sweetened, their use in the dessert category is fitting. For years many have preferred to take their tea sweet by adding cream, honey, substitute sweeteners or sugar. As such, several confectionery products, ice creams and dessert menu items have been created to contain tea extracts.

In Canada, an indulgent chocolate brand called Chocolate Meets Tea is formulated with cocoa and Earl Grey crisps. In addition to its Earl Grey variant, the line launched by Luxury Belgian Chocolate also contains English tea and white and green tea blends. In the foodservice sector, casual eatery Claim Jumper offered a Green Tea and Ginger Crème Brûlée as part of trio named Brûlée Flight. The inclusion of tea in dessert menu items results in a sophisticated sweet for restaurant-goers to enjoy.