RTD tea has changed its positioning in Europe over recent years, moving from something highly commoditised and refreshment-driven to something that aligns with current consumer trends and a more premium positioning. This briefing explores the different strategies brands have been using in key Western European markets to transform and revamp RTD tea: from reducing sugar, to changing the taste profile, to focusing on consumer need states.
In Western Europe, RTD tea is a mature category with well-established brands. Its positioning changed over recent years. It has moved from a highly commoditised and refreshment positioning with a high private label share to a category that clearly aligns with current consumer trends and creates value by refining its positioning.
The healthy living trend encompasses the reduction of sugar in consumers’ diets. This trend has been forcing the wider soft drinks space, including RTD tea, to reformulate or to innovate with reduced sugar variants.
Consumers who are health- and eco-conscious have been actively purchasing RTD tea brands that have natural and/or organic credentials. As a result, new entrants and legacy brands have had to readjust their portfolios.
Brands emphasise the functionality of RTD tea by positioning it to address different consumer needs. From natural energy, to botanicals and probiotics, functional RTD teas have been gaining popularity in Western Europe, which has helped in driving value.
RTD tea brands have changed their traditional taste and flavour profiles to more original combinations. Fuze Tea, by Coca-Cola, is a notable example, which has paved the way for a series of innovations from large and smaller brands.
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