The growing popularity of coffee pods has seen them become an ingrained part of consumers morning routines all over the world, but could innovation in the tea market present a challenge? The tea market in the UK has been in hot water in recent years, with volume sales of tea dropping by 22% in the past 5 years, but the restyling of an old classic could give the market a much needed boost.

Launches of tea pods have seen a small, but steady growth over the past few years, with tea pods representing 2% of all tea launches globally in 2015, up from barely 1% in 2011. Of course popularity differs by region, and pods are more popular in Europe and North America where they accounted for 3% and 10% of all teas launched in 2015 respectively.

The usage of tea pods in Europe is driven by high ownership of single-serve beverage machines for the primary purpose of drinking coffee. As a result, between 15% and 30% of these consumers drink tea made from pods on at least a monthly basis or more frequently.

Tea-pods-graphic

As a result of the growing usage of tea pods, 2015 has seen some significant launches. France is a key market for such launches given the country has the highest ownership of single-serve beverage machines in Europe. Notably, Unilever have chosen to launch their first Lipton branded tea pods in this market and the presence of this brand in pod launches should help popularise the format and further stimulate growth.

Lipton’s range of pods is strongly focussed on flavour. This reflects the brands strategy that has proven so successful in the French market. Lipton’s French tea product range features a wide array of flavoured varieties such as Blueberry Muffin, Lemon Tart and Pear and Chocolate.

 

Lipton

Lipton La Collection Capsules (Tea & Infusion Capsules Assortment) contains a selection of flavoured teas and infusions suitable for use with the Nespresso machine system. It comprises the following varieties: red fruit flavoured black tea; finest Earl Grey black tea; Marrakesh mint flavoured green tea; verbena and mint infusion; and orange infusion with a touch of honey.

 

PG Tips

 

PG Tips has launched a range of teas in the UK that are compatible with the Nespresso machine as it looks to tap into growth in the beverage capsule market. The pods are said to contain “real tea leaves”, and are available in four flavours: caramel and vanilla black tea, smooth greentea, and caffeine-free peppermint and raspberry & apple teas.

 

 

 

 

No.711

 

 

In Germany, Teekanne have launched No. 711 Rooibos Vanilla Cookie Tea Capsules. Full-bodied and sweet rooibos tea, the product is flavoured with freshly baked American cookies and a hint of vanilla.

 

 

 

 

Nescafe

 

Although the number of tea pods launched in Poland is low compared to other European countries, almost one in five claim to use them. In this country, Nescafe launched Dolce Gusto Macaron Green Tea, these green tea capsules feature sugar and flavour, and are a new indulgent tea based flavoured pod.

 

 

 

Given the increasing level of premiumisation occurring in the tea categories of Europe and North America, it is only a matter of time before consumers realise that not all tea pods, despite their premium price relative to bagged tea, are necessarily of equal quality. There are opportunities for tea brands to more clearly demonstrate and deliver a superior tea experience via pods.

Jodie Minotto is a Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. She has more than 13 years of experience in sales, marketing and market research roles, predominantly in the food and beverage industry, working for both global CPG companies and SMEs. Her expertise lies in the dairy, confectionery, meal solutions, snack foods, beer and wine categories.

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