Demand for RTD tea remained stable in 2020, driven by the dominant and affordable still RTD tea format. With the initial lockdown due to the pandemic introduced during a colder part of the year in March, demand was not adversely impacted with consumption of RTD tea linked more with the warmer summer season, with sales tending to peak in July-August, according to chained retailer Maxima.
Only emerging in Lithuania in 2018, carbonated RTD tea and kombucha retained a negligible presence but continued to attract interest from consumers due to health claims relating to the fermented product in terms of containing live bacteria and therefore promoting gut health. It is therefore considered to be a healthier low calorie alternative to carbonates or energy drinks by some.
Coca-Cola HBC Lietuva UAB retained its dominance of RTD tea in value share terms in 2020 through its established brand Fuze Tea. Fuze Tea offers a wide range of flavoured black and green tea-based drinks, and has developed a lower calorie option to address consumer concerns over the high sugar content of RTD soft drinks, using natural sweetener stevia as one of the ingredients.
Although iced tea is gaining in popularity in Lithuania, driven by sales during the summer season, it still has plenty of room to expand as it remains an uncommon choice for many local consumers, with off-trade volume sales predicted to record stronger growth compared to the review period. Greater marketing efforts are therefore needed in addition to increasing the range of non-sugar variants to address increasing health trends.
The onset of the warmer summer season tends to encourage an increasing number of articles and recipes that emerge in the media, including online, highlighting to Lithuanians the ease of preparation in terms of making their own iced tea using traditional tea bags. This home-made trend amongst more price-conscious consumers could therefore restrict greater uptake of RTD tea, although younger generations are more likely to be attracted to the convenience of on-the-go formats which they can purchase on impulse when they are out of the home, and these are likely to form the target audience for marketing new launches by players over the forecast period.
Continuing to hold marginal share within the overall category, carbonated RTD tea and kombucha is set to see further demand although it will underperform compared to both still RTD tea in terms of off-trade volume growth, and indeed compared to its initial entry in 2018, supported by the hype surrounding its health benefits. Nevertheless, the category could continue to offer niche potential to smaller players, including organic variants such as B-Tea, which is being actively promoted online and via its Facebook page in Lithuania, where it markets its use of 100% raw and organic ingredients including juice, herbal extracts and cane sugar.
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This report originates from Passport, our RTD Tea research and analysis database.
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