As Millennials continue to heavily influence organic tea consumption globally, and as third party sustainability certification initiatives push ethics into mainstream public discourse, the future of organic tea remains delicately poised, hinged on evolving consumer perceptions and preferences. This global briefing analyses the performance of organic tea across regions, analysing growth engines and barriers as the industry adapts to the shifting milieu.
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Short-term spikes and troughs have been the story of organic tea, highlighting just how difficult a market it is to operate effectively in. The challenging nature of organic tea production has contributed to both its short term successes and failures. In 2015, North America was at the peak of a growth burst, reinforcing its importance as the largest global market in terms of region, with Western Europe and Asia Pacific lagged slightly behind.
Multinational companies have entered the market, either by acquiring small organic brands or incorporating niche organic variants into their product ranges. However, given the challenges of producing organic tea on an industrial scale, these companies have shown a reluctance to make any major venture into the category. This has made the market welcoming to small brands willing to commit to organic production.
The success of organic tea is driven in no small part by the highly influential millennial consumers that continue to show a thirst for new flavours, demonstrate a lack of brand loyalty, and place ethics and health at the foundation of their choices. These factors make organic tea and sustainability certification prime considerations for this demographic.
Third party certification, such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and others continues, to draw the part-time organic consumers towards ethical alternatives, especially in more commodified categories, and will continue to be a threat to the USP of organic tea.