The Latest in Tea: Snackable, Functional and #Instaready

Tea is trending in a big way – and not just in beverage. Tea flavors and extracts are now featured in everything from protein bars to ice cream to candy. As consumers continue to focus on health and wellness, the tea movement shows no signs of slowing. Read on to find out all about the latest trends in tea right now!

Reimagined in Food

Consumers are looking for new ways to experience the foods they enjoy. Tea flavors have long been popular in pastries in Europe and are making their way onto grocery shelves in the Western market through confection, dairy and bakery and snack products. Bali’s Best uses natural tea extract in its hard candies originating from whole green tea leaves. Many ice cream brands incorporate tea extracts in their products, including Haagen Dazs with its Green Tea Ice Cream made from Japanese matcha green tea. Health and wellness nutrition products are a natural source for tea extracts. Forketo bars contain no artificial preservatives, no added sugar, and are loaded with fiber and green tea matcha powder rich in antioxidants. Tea is also making its way into culinary snack products as seen here with Squirrel Stosh’s Turmeric Chai Cashews.

Focused Function

The known health benefits of tea are continuously expanding, and specific health functions are now highlighted in tea varieties. Consumers want products that help them live better and are looking for functional teas to help with inflammation, digestion, energy management and stress relief. Probiotic teas, including kombucha are growing rapidly. Several popular tea brands including Yogi, Zest Tea and Marley Mellow Mood focus on specific wellness functions. Probiotic teas, including kombucha are growing rapidly. Synergy Kombucha is known for its tangy, exotic flavors and numerous health benefits. Synergy is available in ten proprietary flavors, including Mission Mango, Superfruits, Trilogy, Cosmic Cranberry, Ginger Berry and Strawberry Serenity.

#Instaready

In today’s digital age, consumers are led by social media – capturing everything they do, see, taste and experience, and following the trends set by ‘influencers’. The flexible nature of tea allows for creativity in producing exciting and visually appealing beverages. Cold brew tea, bubble tea, nitro tea and cheese tea are examples of trends that are rising in popularity from social media. Originated from Taiwan during the 1980s, Bubble Tea is a sweet beverage made with tapioca pearls. The trendy drink is now widespread in the global market and is the talk of Instagram with over 1.6 million posts. Nitro Tea is a silky and creamy tea made without any dairy and sugar. Stored in kegs, it is poured into large glasses from taps, almost resembling beer. The cutting-edge appeal of Nitro Tea is quickly becoming an Instagram fascination. Likewise, the unique visual appeal of Cheese Tea is slowly making its way into the Western market with milk cream toppings such as Crème Brule, Tiramisu and White Chocolate Cream. Commercialized by the Chinese, Cheese Tea is made with cream cheese mixed with milk, whipping cream and a pinch of salt, creating a foamy top for the liquid tea underneath. Finally, the popularity of cold brew tea is growing as consumers are touting its hydrating effects and sweet, sugar-free flavor on social media. Last year, Tiesta Tea broadened its portfolio by launching an RTD cold brew tea line due to growing consumer interest.

Flavor Innovation

With a larger variety of teas hitting the market, new flavors and old favorites are rising in popularity. Consumers are a lot more explorative with their taste buds when it comes to beverages. Many tea brands are playing with bold flavor profiles, including indulgent flavors like chocolate to fruity flavors like blood orange and hibiscus. Market research firm, NPD reported a 55% increase in the use of hibiscus in tea globally since 2014. In February 2019, Pure Leaf released five new herbal teas using hibiscus flavor combined with a variety of fruit flavors. Rishi Tea & Botanicals recently expanded its line to include exotic flavor combinations including, Cinnamon Plum and Turmeric Ginger Chai. Two Leaves and a Bud is touting a line of tart and sour teas, including tart berry, tart Meyer lemon, and tart blood orange. Additionally, with more consumers adopting a ‘better-for-you’ lifestyle, heavy desserts are being replaced with dessert teas as a healthy alternative. Republic of Tea has a line of dessert teas with a variety of indulgent flavors including red velvet cake, cinnamon toast and double dark chocolate.

The tea trend is here to stay. Let us help you customize your products with the latest in tea offerings. Flavorchem creates flavor, ingredient and color solutions, including a wide selection of botanical and organic certified flavors and extracts.

Contact us today to create a custom flavor for you!