“What’s Brewing?” is a World Tea News round-up of recent happenings, news and factoids from the global tea industry.
Here’s what’s notable:
Grubhub Says Chai Tea Lattes Increased in Popularity in 2020
Grubhub, a leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace, released findings from its annual “Year in Food” report, analyzing orders from over 30 million diners to see what rose in popularity throughout an unpredictable year.
While past years have seen a growth in vegan and vegetarian options, 2020 was a year where comfort foods and caffeine took a majority of the top spots. And while the study focused primarily on food-related items, one tea trend stood out. According to GrubHub, during the month of April 2020, diners leaned on catching a caffeine buzz with vanilla chai tea lattes, increasing 212 percent in popularity.
To learn more, visit blog.grubhub.com/taste-of.
European Speciality Tea Association Launches New Producer Member Category
European Speciality Tea Association launched a new category of membership in October, specifically aimed at producer members both in traditional tea growing countries and also in Europe.
Tea producers will be able to join and their membership fee will be calculated according to the size and production level of their tea garden as well as other factors, making it much more accessible to smaller growers.
In addition to receiving the same benefits as other members, producers will also receive an exclusive document, entitled Small Producers – Planning Guidelines, written by well-known tea consultant and president of the association, Nigel Melican. This will provide start-up producers with invaluable practical advice.
Dan Versey, director and leader of the Producers Working Group for European Speciality Tea Association, said, “We are really excited about this new initiative, and feel that the new member benefit package will be a great help to new or just started small producers in traditional countries but particularly those in Europe.”
Melican, who’s also CEO of Teacraft, added, “One of our objectives when the association was conceived was to engage with and support tea producers, so this is a particularly important milestone for European Speciality Tea Association. As I have been working with tea producers around the world for the last 40 years, I am personally proud that as an association we shall be able to work with them in the future.”
For more information, visit SpecialityTeaEurope.com.
Yaupon Brothers American Tea Co and Teatulia Receive Accolades from The Specialty Food Association
The Specialty Food Association (SFA) announced the winners of the 2021 Leadership Awards, honoring influential and innovative entrepreneurs who are transforming the specialty food industry. Two tea company leaders were honored, including Bryon White of Yaupon Brothers American Tea Co. and Linda Appel Lipsius of Teatulia.
According to SFA, White helped revive the American tea industry by growing and harvesting a native, naturally caffeinated plant species, Yaupon Holly. He also supports indigenous cultures that were the original consumers of Yaupon Holly Tea, and he’s also donated 15,000 meals to Feeding Florida during the pandemic. White received the SFA Leadership Award in the category of Citizenship.
Appel Lipsius has led Teatulia Organic Teas to transform the tea industry by pioneering the garden-to-cup model, per SFA. Teatulia’s 3,000-acre regenerative tea garden drives economic growth in Northern Bangladesh through a community co-operative. The co-op features a cattle-lending program, adult education, and organic farming jobs. Together these elements empower, educate, and provide resources to community members to reverse cycles of poverty. Appel Lipsius received the SFA Leadership Award in the category of Vision.
Founded in 1952 in New York City, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) is the leading trade association for the $158.4 billion specialty food industry.
To learn more, visit, SpecialtyFood.com.
Global Bubble Tea Brand ‘Gong cha’ Is Investing Aggressively in European Expansion
Gong cha, one of the world’s most recognized Taiwanese tea brands, announced that it is actively seeking additional franchisees across Europe. The company is aggressively seeking to further grow its presence as part of a broader global expansion.
A staple throughout Asia with a loyal following since the 1980s, Gong cha bubble tea has become a daily treat for in-the-know consumers across the world. According to Allied Market Research, the European bubble tea market is over $300 million in size and growing at 9 percent per year.
With relatively low investment to open new stores and an attractive business model, Gong cha franchisees have thrived, according to the company. The business currently employs a mostly take-out model, offering bubble tea through delivery as well as in-store pickup. Despite the global pandemic, new stores have continued to open around the world, including a new store in Liverpool, England. Gong cha now has stores in 19 countries with more than 1,300 locations.
Recently acquired by TA Associates, a leading global growth private equity firm, Gong cha has fueled its European growth plan by attracting top industry talent to its management team across all disciplines. Einar Gustafsson recently joined Gong cha as CEO, Americas & Europe, to quickly scale-up the company’s presence in these markets. He was previously managing director for Bakkavor Asia, an integrated food manufacturing company, specializing in chilled, prepared food, and helped build Bakkavor’s presence in China.
“I am excited to share the Gong cha opportunity with interested potential franchisees,” said Gustafsson. “Gong cha is a leading brand in a fast-growing category, and the unit model economics are very attractive. With a fairly straight-forward operating model and relatively low upfront capital requirements, a Gong cha franchise investment is compelling.”
To learn more, visit Gong-cha.com/en.
-Aaron Kiel, World Tea News