Americans will celebrate National Iced Tea Day on June 10, 2019 across the country.
Iced Tea Day events are local for the most part. Luzianne Iced Tea, for example, will have porch pop-ups in New Orleans, Louisiana and in Charlotte, North Carolina and give away their ready-to-drink teas.
Iced tea, ice tea, sweet tea, sun tea—the market is flush with variations on cold tea, and, as consumers move away from sugary drinks and seek a healthier alternative, innovations in iced tea—and demand—are on the rise.
A report by MarketResearch.biz estimates the global iced tea market will grow by 9.5% (compound annual growth rate) between 2017 and 2027. Consumption and sales of iced tea are rising worldwide, including in Asia, where many countries like China traditionally indulged only in hot tea. No surprise that several companies that produce iced tea, like Lipton Pure Leaf and Arizona, are nearing one billion in sales per year, according to a report by Market Advantage—IRI Liquid Data.
In the United States, iced tea has been a tea-drinking tradition since the nineteenth century. Though largely a seasonal drink in the warmer months, it outsells hot tea. According to the Tea Association of USA around 80% of tea is consumed in iced form. A quick Google search for “ode to iced tea” shows how deep passion for the beverage runs; search results point to a surprising number of poems and tributes characterizing iced tea as “heavenly,” a “businessman’s drink,” and more beloved than holidays.
The majority of iced tea in America is heavily sweetened, whether it’s RTD like Snapple, Coca-Cola’s Gold Peak, or PepsiCo Lipton or it is a fountain beverage at a self-serve station in a fast food restaurant, a concentrate sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. In the southern states, sweet tea follows a singular method of preparation, with some recipes calling for a pound of sugar for every gallon of tea.
As consumption and sales of sugary soft drinks continue their 15-year decline, consumers around the world are turning to iced teas, Market Research explains. Consumers are beginning to see less sugary versions of iced tea—including other cold (but not technically “iced”) teas, like cold brew tea—as a healthy alternative to soda. The market has responded by producing low- or no-sugar RTD iced teas like those produced by Coca-Cola’s Authentic Tea House brand. The trend toward sugar-free is likely to continue for health as well as political reasons; according to World Tea News, Singapore “limits companies to 12% sugar content across their entire portfolio, enforceable in 2020.”
Iced tea’s versatility makes it possible for businesses to adjust to a market looking for less sugary products. Flavored tea blends make naturally tasty, low calorie iced or cold brew teas. Steaz in the U.S. and Slo-Jo in South Africa both introduced a range of sugar-free iced teas in 2016, and recommend adding fruit as a natural sweetener. Nurit Raich, senior director of product innovation with the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, a California-based company with more than 1,200 retail locations around the world, helped develop cold brew teas with fruit purées, leading the company to become the first international specialty coffee and tea retailer to serve cold brew tea.
“We also launched cold brew teas in Asia, and they’re doing really, really well,” Raich said. “There’s so much you can do with tea.”
Businesses can get creative with their iced tea service: develop iced tea blends with fresh fruit or juice—orange pineapple, chilli berry, strawberry watermelon—investigate the possibilities of iced matcha, concoct a sparkling tea recipe inspired by Pellegrino, Sun-Rype, or Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Co., or experiment with tea cocktails. Some cafés and restaurants launch a signature drink, following the trend Arnold Palmer created in the 1960s when he asked, as the legend goes, for three parts iced tea to one part lemonade. The drink took off and is still popular today; Lemonade and Clementine, both based in California, are known for their versions, which feature freshly squeezed lemonade and limeade, respectively. For its specialty drink, the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia has developed a signature iced tea made with honey and mint from the hotel’s rooftop herb garden and apiary.
Restaurants, cafés, and businesses needn’t have their own beehives to create a successful, signature drink. The iced tea market is full of potential. Rise to the challenge, and create a healthy, great-tasting iced tea that will help increase profitability and reach new markets.
Enter the Global Tea Championship 2019 Iced Tea Competition!
Early Bird Entry Savings Ends: August 6, 2019 after that the price is increased to $175.00 per entry
Entry Forms Due: October 15, 2019
Tea Samples Due: October 22, 2019
Competition: October 31 & November 1, 2019 (New Location in Springfield, Illinois at the BUNN location)
Winners Notified: November 8th, 2019
Winners Announced in World Tea News: November 15, 2019