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U.S. Tea Sales Increased 5.9 Percent in 2013


Tea is the world’s second most-consumed beverage after water, according to a new report published in the current issue of The American Botanical Council’s (ABC) online magazine HerbalEGram.

The online magazine ‹reports that sales of loose, bagged, concentrated, and herbal tea in the U.S. increased by 5.9 percent in 2013, reaching a total of $1,751,055,302. Ready-to-drink (RTD) tea sales in the U.S. remained relatively flat at $2,383,970,106, a small decrease of approximately 0.36 percent from 2012 sales. Based on available figures, 2014 is expected to be a banner year for both brewed and RTD tea sales, reported HerbalEGram.

“Growth in the tea market parallels the growth in the herbal supplement market, indicating continued interest by millions of American consumers in tea and other herbal beverages and their associated health benefits,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, ABC. “The herbal supplement market data to which Blumenthal referred may be found in ABC’s annual Herb Market Report, which tracks a category of products other than tea. ”

According to the report, growing demand for tea in the U.S. is being driven by three primary factors: health and wellness trends, positive media coverage, and an evolving retail landscape while consumers are seeking affordable, safe ways to enhance their personal wellness and self-care regimens. For nine consecutive years, sales of carbonated soda beverages have fallen as consumers have become more conscious of healthier alternatives. Even fruit juices, because of their high natural sugar content, have recently experienced a backlash.

Further, thousands of independent and multi-unit tea retail outlets are expanding nationwide, offering greater consumer access to finer-quality specialty teas. In 2012, global specialty coffee leader Starbucks invested 620 million dollars in its acquisition of Teavana, the largest North American retail tea chain. The HerbalEGram tea market report is based on sales data from the mainstream multi-outlet, natural, and specialty/gourmet channels supplied by SPINS.

The top five herbs in 2013 in the U.S.medicinal tea (bag) sector were, respectively, chamomile (Matricaria recutita), senna (Senna alexandrina), ginger (Zingiber officinale), echinacea (Echinacea spp.), and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). In the 2013 U.S. herbal beverage tea (bag) category, top-selling primary herbs were chamomile, mints (Mentha spp.), ginger, valerian (Valeriana officinalis), and açaí (Euterpe oleracea). SPINS defines “medicinal teas” as all medicinal teas with one or more medicinal ingredient, often marketed with a structure-function claim, or strongly associated with a health focus. “Herbal beverage” tea refers to single or blended beverage infusions formulated with various combinations of fruits, spices, herbs, and C. sinensis not marketed with any health-related claim; they are considered conventional foods in a regulatory sense.

“More impressive than the current size of the tea industry is the fact that, for more than a decade, annual sales totals have grown consistently in the U.S.with very few types of tea showing anything other than consistent gains,” wrote the authors of ABC’s 2013 tea market report. “The onslaught of hundreds of new retail tea outlets ‹ and thousands more projected to open in the next few years ‹ parallels the germinal stages of the fledgling U.S. natural foods industry circa 1980-2000.”

The American Botanical Council’s 2013 tea market report was published in the November issue of HerbalEGram. The monthly online magazine provides original reporting on current news pertaining to the botanical and natural products communities, and is one of many benefits of ABC membership.

ABC plans to present its 2014 annual tea market report in HerbalGram issue #105 (January-March 2015).

For more information, visit www.abc.herbalgram.org. 


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