As consumers are switching from, or reducing their consumption of carbonates, their interest in RTD tea, especially HW versions, is on the rise. HW RTD tea is an emerging playground for enthusiastic entrepreneurs, with many new drinks claimed to have a low calorie content and no added sugar. Chinese and Japanese companies dominate the global market, with TCCC being the only global player holding a prominent position.
Consumers increasingly demand a variety of drinks; their interest in, and knowledge about, natural ingredients is growing, representing both an opportunity and a challenge for manufacturers.
As older consumers tend to stick to their drinking habits, RTD tea consumption is growing amongst younger consumers. Correspondingly, marketing messages tend to be associated with lifestyle and fun.
China is a key growth driver for naturally healthy (NH) RTD tea. The multinationals have not yet captured local consumers’ imagination and the country is therefore dominated by local players.
Established Asian brands are exploring international markets. However, challenges remain especially in terms of branding and marketing.
Both cola giants underperformed Chinese companies in health and wellness (HW) RTD tea, although The Coca-Cola Company is making a great deal of effort in the US to market its Gold Peak. PepsiCo and Unilever’s joint venture has achieved progress in terms of market share globally. It has trialled stevia in Lipton in some markets.
Emerging drinks, such as products with the claim to enhance brain function, are being explored by entrepreneurs. These drinks are hybrids of functional drinks and RTD tea, and the success rate remains to be seen.
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