QTrade Teas & Herbs Boosts Iced Tea Packing Capacity to Meet Demand within the Beverage Industry
North America’s Largest Supplier of Organic Teas Is
Now the West Coast’s Largest Tea Packer with New Iced Tea Machine
LOS ANGELES, Calif., (April 11, 2014) – Just in time for iced tea season, QTrade Teas & Herbs flips the switch this quarter on powerful new machinery that will considerably boost its iced tea packing capacity from 200,000 to 300,000 bags a day. QTrade Teas & Herbs, the largest supplier of organic and fair trade tea in North America, serves major tea brands, tea retailers, coffee roasters, foodservice and bottled drink brands. See QTradeTeas.com.
“The specialty tea industry has built strong inroads in the fresh brewed tea category,” says QTrade Teas & Herbs President Manjiv Jayakumar. “Thus, the addition of our new vertical form, fill and seal equipment increases production of 1- to 4-ounce tea bags to 10,000 cases a day – or the equivalent of 300,000 bags a day. This gives QTrade the largest tea packing capability on the West Coast. In addition, this investment in the QTrade infrastructure – to handle the growing iced tea demand – shaves transportation costs for existing clients as well as new clients in the beverage industry.”
On the whole, iced tea sales increased 5 percent across all North American retail channels, according to New York-based market research firm The NPD Group, which reports sales at fast-food and casual dining restaurants have increased 12 percent since 2001. Since 2011, tea offerings on menus have grown by 53 percent at full-service restaurants, according to market research firm Technomic’s Beverage Consumer Trend Report.
Iced tea appears on 74 percent of menus for restaurants that sell beverages, according to MenuTrends, a service of market research firm Datassential. Iced tea is second only to soda among nonalcoholic beverages, making it more prevalent than lemonade, hot chocolate, milk and iced coffee, according to Datassential.
In the Unites States, cold beverages generate 75 percent of beverage sales with tea, a high-margin performer, according to Nielsen ScanTrak. Customization of tea is a top trend on the National Restaurant Association’s annual Chef’s Survey. And restaurants now offer a greater variety of exotic flavors, iced green teas and herbal infusions such as Rooibos, ginseng and elderflower. Fruit-tea hybrids and fusion beverages are moving well beyond black tea and lemonade blends.
“Fresh brewed iced green teas are a consumer favorite, appearing on both fast food and casual dining menus in the past two years. These teas are healthful, mix well with fruit flavors and can be served unsweetened,” shares Jayakumar.
Overall, QTrade – a pioneer in the industry – can blend 40,000 pounds of tea daily and warehouse up to three million pounds of tea and spices. It is one of the largest of the country’s 90 tea blenders that together generate $1.6 billion in revenue. The segment grew 6.3 percent annually in the past five years, according to market researcher IBIS World.
“Formulating flavors, recipe development and sourcing diverse ingredients at a commercial scale are services that make QTrade different than most co-packers,” adds Jayakumar, whose company was recently certified by the SQF Institute, recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative.