Infused with Purpose: Herbal Teas and the Pursuit of Wellness

June 2019

Herbal tea is a fast-growing segment that represents the majority of future tea growth in many regions. Usage is expanding beyond traditional medicinal and slimming to embrace a wide variety new occasions that have arisen as a result of modern wellness trends. This gives herbal tea a number of new areas to target in functional, indulgent, and hydration spaces.

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Key findings

Herbal teas are growing strongly at a global level

Herbal teas is one of the fastest-growing segments of hot drinks, with a CAGR in the coming years of 4% expected. In many regions, herbal teas represents the largest chunk of tea growth of any format. This growth is occurring because consumers are looking for products that are natural and functional like herbal tea.

The teas that are driving this growth are wellness positioned

The countries that are seeing the most herbal tea growth are those in which wellness trends are strong. Consumers are using naturally healthy herbal teas as components of wellness-orientated lifestyles. They are thus increasingly looking for more general health benefits such as relaxation rather than the slimming teas or medicinal usages that have traditionally dominated the category. Increasingly they are also looking to use herbal tea to replace unhealthy alcoholic and/or soft drinks.

Calming and relaxing are the most important wellness functionalities for herbal tea

Rising rates of anxiety and stress provide a natural opportunity for herbal tea to find new occasions. The association of herbal tea with calming is already strong among consumers and the category is doing a great deal to create teas designed to support stress relief in a variety of occasions.

Digestion, immune support, and other areas are also potentially reachable by herbal tea

Calming is a prominent wellness usage but it is not the only one. Digestion support, “detoxes”, immune support, even beauty are all functionalities that teas are increasingly targeting. Non-wellness usages are also growing, targeting indulgent and hydration occasions.

Growth is largely restricted to a handful of key markets

Brazil, Canada, the US, and a handful of European countries account for nearly the entirety of global growth in herbal tea because it is in these countries that the wellness trend that is boosting the category is strongest. In many other countries the category is still reliant on slimming or traditional usages, which are not doing as well.



A note on definitions
Key findings

Category Overview

Herbal tea is a consistent growth driver of the tea industry
This growth is being driven by naturally healthy products
The growth of wellness culture and herbal teas
This wellness positioning allows them to capture new drink occasions
Over two thirds of global growth will take place in one of six markets
Growth is largely restricted to the developed world
The four main kinds of wellness tea
Beyond wellness: Other areas of herbal tea
Conclusions: Herbal tea in 2019

Herbal Teas in the Anxiety Economy

Herbal teas as a subset of the “anxiety economy”
Staying calm throughout the day
Boosting energy in the morning without caffeinated beverages
Stress relief in the afternoon
Sleep aids highlight the dual opportunity for herbal teas
Ritual as additional source of relaxation
Enhanced ethical positioning further enhances peace of mind
Cannabis: the next front in anxiety-relief teas?
Adaptogens can touch on all calming occasions
Conclusions: Herbal teas and stress relief

Varieties of Wellness Tea

Other wellness uses of herbal tea
Slimming teas decline as weight management shifts
From slimming teas to holistic weight management: Brazil
Detox teas aims to step into the weight management gap
Herbal tea as preventative medicine and immune support
Is beauty skin deep? teas for the skin and hair
Conclusions: Functionalities past and present

Beyond Wellness

Major non-wellness usages of herbal tea
Premium herbal teas put indulgence at the forefront
Rooibos: Taking herbal tea to the premium level
Herbal tea out on the town: mixer usage
Medicinal usage: overshadowed but still vibrant
Shots blur the lines further with the consumer health category
Florals and botanicals rise in the RTD hydration space
Herbal teas as healthy hydration for children


The split between indulgence and functionality is becoming irrelevant
Conclusions: the outlook for herbal tea


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