Yerba mate is a traditional South American plant that is widely used as a non-alcoholic drink throughout South America, and claims various health benefits due to its high quantity of polyphenol antioxidants and vitamins B and C. Yerba mate can also act as a weight management ingredient, help increase mental energy, improve one’s mood, benefit the cardiovascular system, offer anti-inflammatory properties and improve allergy symptoms.

Yerba mate’s health attributes have helped it gain popularity in both North America and Europe. While tea makes up the majority of new global drink launches containing yerba mate, the plant can also be used in ready-to-drink (RTD) tea, energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks and other soft drinks.

Manufacturers are exploring a number of claims in products containing yerba mate to differentiate their offering and create stronger interest among health-minded consumers. According to Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD), gluten-free was the most popular health claim on new drinks containing yerba mate globally in the last four years, followed by organic.

A third of Polish consumers agree that it is worth paying more for functional food
and drinks

Opportunities for functional tea in Poland

Despite high saturation in the Polish tea market, functional teas are proving popular as consumers become more knowledgeable about functional food and drink products. Two in five Polish consumers say that foods with added functional health claims help them lead a healthier lifestyle, and a third agree that it is worth paying more for functional food and drinks.

Consumer preferences are shifting from black tea toward more varied blends and flavours, including functional and more exotic varieties. The majority of Polish consumers use herbal teas for their functional benefits (eg chamomile tea for soothing, peppermint tea for digestion help), while two in five prefer teas with a higher level of antioxidants. Indeed, functional and health claims in Poland’s tea market show room for growth as just 8% of tea and RTD (iced) tea launches in Poland had a functional claim between 2012 and 2016, according to Mintel GNPD.

What we think

Yerba mate can help brands obtain a more premium standpoint given the large number of Poles willing to pay more for functional food and drink products. However, it’s important for brands to explain its health and functional benefits as a lack of information may be an obstacle for some consumers when trying new products containing yerba mate. By blending yerba mate with other tea blends, brands can entice consumers who are less familiar with the ingredient, but remain open to experimenting with new varieties.

Regina Maiseviciute Haydon is a Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, based in London. As a part of the Mintel Food and Drink analyst team, she provides insights on product innovation, consumer trends and packaging and market developments globally. Regina brings over 15 years of experience working in leading market research and strategic analysis agencies, where she has provided insights and strategic recommendations to leading global FMCG organisations and packaging manufacturers, retailers and governmental bodies within Europe and also globally.

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