Major premium manufacturers are starting to present RTD iced tea as a wholly new product, led by trendy US tea bars heralding a flavor and freshness revolution.
Leading filler and carton producer SIG Combibloc claims this is the case, and the firm’s global market segment manager, Norman Gierow, said that non-carbonated RTD tea consumers were ready for a wide variety of new flavors.
RTD teas derived from tea leaves, flowers, herbs, fruit and spices (cocktails of ‘pure’ ingredients) were becoming increasingly creative, and had the potential to revitalise the market, Gierow said.
That said, the world market for RTD tea growth has been positive for a number of years, especially in Asia, with around 29.5bn litres of non-carbonated RTD tea were drunk worldwide in 2011.
Deep-rooted tea culture
The CAGR for RTD tea worldwide is forecast to be around 8.7% from 2011 to 2015, according to SIG.
Sales were especially high in countries with a deep-rooted tea drinking culture, and SIG said North America recently re-emerged as a significant RTD tea growth region.
Hip tea bars in the States are selling creations including: white tea with Acai berries and fizzy lemonade; hibiscus blossom with cherry and sweet vanilla; green tea with ginger and vanilla.
“In the future, we’re set to find comparable high quality infusions – refreshing, energising and made from pure, natural ingredients, among RTD teas as well,” Gierow said.
Future trends emerge…
SIG claimed this trend was emerging already, and gave the example of its client, Swiss firm Bschofszell Food, which produces RTD teas made with freshly brewed bases and mixed with fruit juice.
These are packed in combifitPremium aseptic cartons, and Martin Drexel, Bischofszell export and brand manager, said he expected more such teas to hit shelves in future.
“Inspired by the success and ideas of the new ice tea bars, premium ice tea creations will be coming that are a million miles away from the character of the classic sweetened ice tea drinks,” Drexel said.