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‘Taste’ Main Driver for Tea Purchases Says Comax

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Tea and orange slices

Comax Flavors has released primary research on tea consumers, which focuses on drivers for tea bags, RTD teas and tea powder mixes purchases.

Better-for-you Boom Hits Tea

“Tea has a natural, healthy-halo and has been steadily growing as consumers look for better-for-you beverages. We wanted to explore and better understand tea consumption habits and usage among the general population,” said Catherine Armstrong, VP of corporate communications for Comax Flavors.

This demand for better-for-you products has led the tea market to expand. The global tea market is expected to grow to $21.33 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 4% between the period. North America is expected to remain the dominant market, accounting for 37.7% of total revenue by 2024.

Related: The Essence of Good RTD Tea: It’s All About the Flavor

What Tea Consumers Sip?

To gain insight into tea drinkers, the company interviewed 1,000 U.S. consumers between the ages of 18-70, half male and half female. Comax partnered with Amy Marks-McGee of Trendincite LLC to manage the market research and Costello Creative Group to translate the data into infographics. The research found:  

Tea bag findings:

  • Taste was the most important attribute driving tea bag purchase with 68% of respondents citing it.
  • Flavor was the second most important attribute driving tea bag purchase with 57% of the respondents citing it.
  • Green tea is the number one flavor with 44% of respondents consuming it across generations. 
  • Roughly a quarter of respondents (27%) drink plain or original black tea.
  • Sweet tea was consumed by 21% of the respondents, while 20% of respondents consumed Earl Gray and 19% drank English breakfast teas.
  • Tea bags are almost equally consumed at lunch (41%) and dinner (42%).

RTD tea findings:

  • Taste is the most important attribute driving an RTD tea purchase with two-thirds of respondents citing it.
  • Flavor was the second most important attribute with 63% of respondents citing it.
  • Lemon was the most popular flavor consumed by 48% of respondents across all generations.
  • Sweet tea and green tea RTD beverages were equally consumed by 39% of all respondents.
  • Peach flavors were consumed by 38% of the respondents, while plain/original was consumed by 35% of respondent and half and half by 34%.
  • Less popular were raspberry flavors with a third of the respondents and green tea combinations with a quarter of respondents.

Tea powder mix findings:

  • “Taste” was the most important attribute for 59% of the respondents.
  • Lemon was the most consumed flavor with 61% of respondents citing it, among all generations.
  • The second most popular flavor was tied between sweet tea and half and half at 41% of respondents.
  • Gen Y and Gen Z were the heaviest consumer of sweet tea with 48% citing. Half and half were consumed by 60% of Gen Z and 46% of Gen Y.
  • Other popular flavors were peach with 38% of the respondents citing it, while raspberry was cited by 36% of respondents and blackberry pomegranate by 24%.