US consumers seek hydration over energy from RTD teas, Mintel analyst says

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mintel says consumers are not likely to look for energizing RTD teas. Pic: iStock/etorres69
Mintel says consumers are not likely to look for energizing RTD teas. Pic: iStock/etorres69
Roughly half of consumers wanted a tea that was healthy and hydrating compared to just 26% of consumers who wanted an energizing tea, when asked to create their ideal RTD tea, according to a Mintel report. 

Tea is one of the very few beverage categories that can cater to a consumer’s need to relax and de-stress, and are popular even against the prevalence of energy drinks in the US functional beverage market, Mintel Beverage Analyst Elizabeth Sisel told BeverageDaily.

“Consumers’ perception and desire for relaxing teas, even ready-to-drink varieties, is not necessarily a weakness even though we are in a market that thrives on functional energy beverages,”​ Sisel said. 

Coffee still ‘dominates’ the US energy drink market

According to Sisel, RTD tea is still a relatively small and evolving category in the US. Overall tea consumption is much lower compared to the rest of the world where it is far more ingrained into the daily routine of some Asian and European cultures.

Additionally, its energizing attributes are not as well recognized by US consumers who are more likely to turn to coffee for their energy needs.  

“Teas are recognized more for their relaxing and health and wellness qualities than they are for their caffeine content and energy, particularly in the US where coffee dominates,” ​Sisel said.

However, Sisel says that while tea can excel and differentiate itself by emphasizing its de-stressing and relaxing attributes, she cautions against imparting the idea of a sleep aid to consumers. Instead she recommends emphasizing the health attributes found in its various blends of vitamins and minerals.

“Consumers want something they can de-stress with while continuing to perform their daily activities at their normal pace,”​ Sisel said. 

Better-for-you advantage

While tea may not be catching on as an energizing drink, consumers are more likely to think of RTD as a better for you beverage compared to other functional beverages that promise an energy boost, according to the report.

“Very few consumers are looking for an RTD tea that is indulgent, likely because people generally think of tea as a better for you beverage, which gives it great application with current health and wellness trends,”​ Sisel said.

Mintel health data shows that male and female consumers are likely to be concerned about stress for themselves or someone close to them, outranking the percent of consumers who worry about heart disease, cancer, or even obesity or diabetes by at least 13%.

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