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Matcha is making headlines as media and marketers discover a centuries-old Japanese beverage made with tea leaves ground into fine powder whisked with water.
“After centuries of relative obscurity and a couple recent decades of low-key promotion by die-hard tea fans, Matcha is now exploding onto the global beverage stage in a way that was truly incomprehensible a few years ago,” said Sage Group Founder and tea analyst Brian Keating. Sage released The Matcha Report last week.
Matcha has recently become the “nouveau drink across the western hemisphere, explains Keating. “Outside of its traditional use as a revered beverage in Japan, Matcha is now also an ingredient in hundreds of food and even skincare products. It’s hard to identify another beverage, food, or dietary supplement that provides this dynamic combination of wellness support and healthy mind-body nutrition,” he said.
He praised a “stellar combination of health properties and Zen-like associations.” The report features an extensive section on health benefits of matcha helpful to marketers.
Since the leaves are consumed whole, matcha provides tea drinkers 100% of the available polyphenols and antioxidants praised by heath experts. Antioxidants are measured on the ORAC scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) with values like 24 for blueberries and 18 for kale. A gram of matcha scores 1384 ORAC units making it an ideal ingredient for foods and drinks.
Production is primarily in Japan with about 41% of the tea grown in Shizuoka prefecture. In 2010 Japan produced 1,780 metric tons of tencha (the leaves that are dried and ground to make matcha). The total increased 7% to 1,900 mt. “Demand for matcha has increased dramatically inside Japan, but primarily as an ingredient for food products more than as a traditional beverage,” writes Keating. Domestic consumption is about 108 million servings (1.5 grams) with exports rising to 12.3 million servings in recent years.
According to the report, the breakout years for Matcha worldwide will be 2015 to 2018, catalyzed by glowing media coverage, endless new Matcha products and even Matcha-centric retail outlets, said Keating.
The report sells for $299 and is available at www.teareport.com