World Tea Expo Delivers a Packed Event

LAS VEGAS, Nev.

World Tea Expo is presenting an entirely new line-up of educational content for its annual tradeshow June 1-3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev.

The entire curriculum covers the latest industry trends, answers current business challenges and provides real “take-away” solutions for professionals, according to Kim Jage, sales and marketing director, World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media.

“Over the past 10 years, World Tea Expo has offered more than 450 educational sessions. This year, we adopted a ‘No Repeat’ policy in celebration of our 10-year anniversary. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. All educational content is brand new – and stellar, I might add,” says Jage.

The conference program includes: Core Conference Seminars; Executive & Technical Content; Focused Tastings and hands-on Skill Building Workshops; in addition to the annual New Business Boot Camp.

The Expo also offers a World Origin Tasting Tour that covers the tastes and cultures of some of the most important tea growing regions in the world – China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Nepal, Korea and Taiwan. At each “destination,” attendees explore the country’s tea culture and unique manufacturing processes and taste teas of that origin, gaining a solid understanding of the regional flavors and profiles, says Jage.

Session: Will tea ever be as big as coffee?

One hotly anticipated panel discussion ponders: Will tea ever be as big as coffee? Will the size of the tea retail market catch up to coffee? Will coffee retailers absorb much of the projected growth in tea sales? The matter is a much-discussed focus for the tea trade, especially as the industry is experiencing a new breed of tea retail chains that are finding success in multiple locations in the United States. Currently, there are more than 25,000 U.S. coffeehouses and around 3,500 U.S. tea retail locations. Market leaders are set to discuss and dissect the topic, sharing their conclusions with conference delegates. Panelists include: David Bellasario, president of Teaopia; Charles Cain, vice president, Tazo merchant and operations, Starbucks; Joseph Cugine, president, Argo Tea; and David De Candia, senior manager tea, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Understanding the tea retail shopper

Drawing on industry data, this presentation on the habits of retail shoppers offers insights on purchasing by product type, variety and flavor choices for bagged/loose vs. ready-to-drink (RTD) tea, planned vs. impulse purchasing, price/promotion based purchasing and product choice motivators.

David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, will present point of sales trends, statistics on new product introductions and demographics – all to provide a cross-channel view of specialty tea trends.

“The tea market is undergoing a transformational change, driven by flavor, variety and quality innovation,” says Sprinkle. “At the heart of the change lies ‘specialty’ tea. Competition between distribution channels for the specialty tea consumer is fierce, with foodservice and retail players increasingly pursing multi-channel distribution strategies. Ultimately, however, the tea industry as a whole is the winner, as specialty tea products bring more rewards to marketers and more satisfaction to consumers than the more commoditized products they are replacing,”  he says.

Evaluating grocery store tea blends

Another educational session is shaking up the industry as it prepares to deconstruct famous, traditional grocery store tea blends. “The tea aisle at grocery stores remains the primary place where mainstream Americans buy their tea, so why not let the experts evaluate and access these offerings? George Jage, director, World Tea Media. This hands-on blending workshop also allows attendees to use some of the famous traditional blends as inspiration. We encourage them to use the teas as a foundation for creating their own best-selling loose leaf teas.” Speaker Victor Jara, purchasing and regulatory affairs, Sungarden Tea, leads this session.

TDS in RTD Teas: How Much Is Enough?

As the fastest growing tea market segment in the tea marketplace, RTD teas are booming with hundreds of new products being introduced each year. Existing RTD teas range from tea-flavored sugar water to quality organic blends brewed tea with minimal additives. As RTDs sales increase, the industry is looking at total dissolved solids (TDS) in these beverages. TDS is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid.

The session asks: Should there be internal or external TDS regulations or labeling on “real tea”? The seminar also considers what should be measured and how that should be communicated and enforced? A mix of distinguished panelists is scheduled to look at the opportunities, pitfalls and challenges of such a program, and the possible effects of doing nothing. Moderated by Rob McCaleb, founder and president of the Herb Research Foundation, the session features: Frank Jaksch, CEO, ChromaDex; Michael McGuffin, president, American Herbal Products Association; Joe Simrany, president, Tea Association of the USA, Inc.; and Ray Welch, president, ThirsTea Corporation.
Improving the tea customer’s palate

As their culinary knowledge and sophistication regarding specific regions and varietals increases, how should tea professionals lead consumers from mainstream teas to better quality and better tasting teas? Tea buyer and expert Lydia Kung, Eastrise Trading Corp., proposes one plan to bridge the gap between standard and lesser-known but praiseworthy teas.

Kung says, “In terms of product knowledge, teas may be trailing behind food and wine in the current culinary culture. Indeed, as we witness a move to authenticity – tracing sources back to the growers – what better fit into the scheme of things than tea, where so many flavors and aromas are elicited from no more than the leaves? However, becoming more selective as a tea purveyor or as a tea consumer does not mean limiting oneself to only esoteric high-priced teas. Among all the teas in the marketplace, where might one begin and why begin with one category rather than another?”

Kung’s session considers what such an exploration might look like, along with a conceptual framework to support the progression of the tea consumer.

Other seminars and workshops include a look at the evolution of a tea store; tea sustainability, a new dawn for Japanese tea; tea science updates; how to put together a comparative tea and wine tasting; tea, nutrition and health; caffeine and antioxidant clarity; and applying principles of taste biology to the appreciation of teas and food pairings.

To register or learn more, visit www.WorldTeaExpo.com.

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