Sam Moore
Sam is a Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, specialising in dairy and beverages.

The foodservice sector, which is often the harbinger of what will become a trend in retail packaged food and drinks, is continuing to innovate around flavour, textures and food experiences.

Tea trends in the foodservice scene have become some kind of a phenomenon across Asia, opening up opportunities for retail brands to appeal more to consumers by incorporating these trends into their RTD tea drinks.

While Thai milk tea has successfully established itself in retail, today there are many other new trends and opportunities that are popular in the foodservice scene and have yet to play out in retail. Some examples include cold brew tea and the brown sugar milk tea that have recently been made famous by tea shops.

Tapping into creaminess

Source: R&B Facebook page

R&B, Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cheese Brûlée

Brown sugar milk tea is a visually-pleasing tea drink that’s both indulgent and creamy. It is currently growing immensely in popularity across Asia’s foodservice sector, making it a prime product trend for retail brands to tap into.


Tiger Sugar, Brown Sugar Pearl Series

Reflecting an opportunity for super-indulgent creamy RTD tea drinks in retail, RTD tea has seen an increase in the number of new launches that have an on-pack description of being ‘creamy’ or ‘creamier’ in the past couple of years, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

This aligns with Mintel’s Global Food & Drink 2018 Trend ‘New Sensations’ which highlights how the sound, feel and satisfaction provided by texture is becoming an important component in food and drink product development.

Cold brew emerges in retail tea


Made Cold Cold Brew Tea Hojicha Tea

Globally, ‘cold brew’ is just emerging as an upscale taste and quality descriptor in RTD tea. Leaning on developments seen in RTD coffee, where cold brew has long been trending, the hours-long steeping of tea leaves in cold water is said to release the full flavour of tea, without it becoming bitter and tannic.


Yourganic Cold Brew Oolong Tea

Mintel GNPD reveals that the ‘cold brew’ descriptor is still very niche in the global RTD tea market, indicating an opportunity for this trend to take flight worldwide, particularly as it creates a more premium, flavourful product.