Carbonated RTD tea and kombucha had been one of the brightest sources of growth in the US soft drinks industry over the past decade. However, sales had begun to slow prior to the pandemic, with distribution-fuelled channel growth (eg expanding into conventional modern grocery and convenience stores) beginning to slow and a wider variety of speciality digestive health products and beverages providing more competition for core consumers.
Older legacy brands within the still RTD tea category also struggled to build momentum over the course of the year, although many enjoyed significant volume growth during the strong grocery performance of US beverages in 2020. In terms of overall volume, the largest brands in the US RTD tea category are refreshment focused, led by Arizona iced tea.
RTD tea is another category seeking to capitalise on rising consumer interest in immune-support ingredients and general wellness in the aftermath of the global pandemic.
A variety of “super-ingredients” will characterise manufacturers’ attempts to adjust and innovate towards a new routine, where energy remains a top priority. These will include plant-based sources of caffeine, including yerba mate, guayusa, guarana and yaupon, in addition to botanical caffeine alternatives.
As manufacturers experiment with adult non-alcoholic alternatives, herbal tea blends are featuring more prominently in products marketed as a direct replacement for alcoholic beer or spirits. According to Euromonitor International’s Health and Nutrition Survey 2020, 27% of Americans who are trying to reduce their alcohol intake cite the desire for better sleep as one of their motivations.
A wide range of independent US herbal RTD blends are experimenting with a variety of plant-based ingredients and botanicals known as adaptogens. Adaptogens can be defined as ingredients which modulate the release of stress hormones from the adrenal system.
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This category includes all packaged products based on brewed tea or tea extract. May be sweetened or unsweetened, carbonated or still, with a wide variety of different flavourings. May contain juice.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our RTD Tea research and analysis database.
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