Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than a cup of tea, yet as tastes evolve in Poland we could soon see a wide variety of flavours lining up to fill the teapot. Although the tea market in Poland remains highly traditional and black tea is the most popular option for consumers, there are signs of a shift in consumption habits. As a result, black tea is slowly losing its leading position as green, herbal and fruit teas continue to develop with consumers keen to try new tastes, types and blends.

With as many as three quarters of Polish consumers enjoying different tea flavours, sales of herbal and speciality tea are moving out from specialised health shops and drugstores and into mass retailers. Indeed, over three in five consumers use herbal teas for their functional benefits. Tea is also seen as a good alternative to having alcohol on a night in by a majority of consumers, reflecting its status as a national drink.

Can tea follow coffee in the premiumisation trend?

Increasing financial security, greater ability to travel and an eagerness to follow Western trends have a significant impact on many fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) categories in Poland. The coffee sector, which is often seen as competitive to the tea market in terms of consumer behaviour, is experiencing a premiumisation trend. This is highly related to the popularity of both chains and independent coffee shops, as a result of which consumers are developing a taste for more premium varieties of coffee in retail. Even though in Polish foodservice tea shops are not thriving as vividly as coffee shops, premiumisation could be developed through retail chains where tea types and brands could convey an image of quality and sophistication.

Loose leaf teas enjoy sophisticated image

La SpecialeIn other European countries premiumisation has been an important area of innovation in the tea market, as brands look to meet consumer demand for higher-quality beverages. Loose tea has traditionally been the arena of small, specialised producers but is now perceived as a good fit for a shift towards premium teas by mainstream brands.

In Poland, the expansion of loose tea ranges in retail could provide the foundation for the premiumisation trend in the tea sector. Indeed, almost three in five Polish consumers agree that loose tea is better quality than tea bags and only a fifth would not feel confident preparing loose tea.

Interestingly, one of the leading discounters in Poland, Jeronimo Martins, has launched a range of teas under its premium private label brand ‘La Speciale’. Although they are not actually speciality teas, this concept consolidates the key themes of the tea premiumisation trend: sophisticated packaging, good quality tea, innovative flavours and loose leaf format. As Jeronimo Martins holds a strong position in the retail arena, this launch could become a trend-setter in the premium tea market in Poland.

Regina Maiseviciute joined Mintel in 2013 as a Food and Drink Analyst for Poland. As a part of the Mintel Food and Drink team, she tracks new innovation, consumer trends and market development activity in Poland. Regina brings over 10 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 Eastern Europe and also globally.

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