In the COVID-19 pandemic, tea has become a go-to drink. According to Mintel, “Launch activity shows a continued focus on ethical, natural, functional and sugar-free claims. Being a comforting and healthy drink, tea has become a go-to drink in the pandemic. With more people working from home, tea occasions have moved rapidly back towards the home.” What we’re seeing now are numerous sparkling tea launches, as well as sugar free and functional tea launches. Tea brands are focusing on biodegradable packaging to address environmental concerns.

In the next two years

Holistic health becomes a growing, urgent priority. Sugar reduction will be key, and 100% natural will be an ideal claim. “New horizons are opening for probiotic tea. Cold tea (in tea bag format) shows potential as a better-for-you soft drink alternative. Staying healthy has taken on a vital and pressing meaning during the pandemic. A growing focus on holistic health presents opportunities for tea brands, with functional botanical blends particularly suited to support specific health interests, such as the immune system, and to help consumers cope with stress and anxiety,” states Mintel.

As consumers continue to focus on holistic health, tea brands will have an opportunity to promote natural heath benefits through functional botanical blends. According to Mintel, consumer trust in the functional power of plant ingredients is on the rise. “Meanwhile, vitamin/mineral fortification allows brands to take functional power to the next level. Though still very niche globally, accounting for just 2% of tea launches, fortified tea has become a focus of innovation in some mature tea markets, including the UK and Germany,” states Mintel.

Five years and beyond

Look for the environmental impact of tea farming to move into focus. According to Mintel, “Eye health and enhanced sensorial experiences offer new routes for brands to explore. In the context of sensory experiences, the use of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is set to play a growing role in the way brands connect with consumers. ASMR – sound effects that create a deeply immersive experience – is one of the latest trends in relaxation and mindfulness.”

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, stress relief will be top of mind for consumers. Brands have an opportunity to reach consumers on multiple levels; from stress relief to holistic health.