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US Sales of Brew and Ready-to-Drink TeasIncreased in 2014

The American Botanical Council's Tea Market Report Shows Sales of Herbal and Other Teas Continue to Climb

(AUSTIN, Texas, March 24, 2015) Tea (Camellia sinensis) is the world’s secondmost-consumed beverage after water. According to a new report published in HerbalGram— the nonprofit American Botanical Council’s (ABC) peer-reviewed, quarterlyjournal — combined 2014 sales of brew and ready-to-drink (RTD) teas increased 4.1%to a total of $4,304,656,364.1 Sales of loose, bagged, concentrated,and herbal teas in the United States increased by 3.6% in 2014, reaching atotal of $1,814,632,064, while RTD tea sales in the US rose to $2,490,024,300,an increase of approximately 4.4% over 2013 sales.1 Based onavailable figures and beverage trends, growth in the RTD sector is expected tocontinue for the next several years. According to the report, growing demand for tea in the United States is beingdriven by three primary factors: health and wellness trends, positive mediacoverage, and an evolving retail landscape. Consumers are seeking affordable, safe ways to enhance their personal wellnessand self-care regimens. For nine consecutive years through 2013, sales ofcarbonated soda beverages have fallen as consumers have become more consciousof healthier alternatives. Even fruit juices, because of their high naturalsugar content, have experienced a backlash recently. Consistent media coverageis delivering a stream of positive news on the research validating healthbenefits of tea consumption — particularly green tea — that is helping toeducate and motivate consumers to choose tea. Further, thousands of independent and multi-unit tea retail outlets areexpanding nationwide, offering greater consumer access to finer-qualityspecialty teas. In 2012, global specialty coffee leader Starbucks invested $620million in its acquisition of Teavana — the largest North American retail teachain. Tea now accounts for 10% of Starbucks’ US retail sales. This is the second time ABC has published its Tea Market Report. ABC’s first,the 2013 tea market report, was published in the November 2014 issue of HerbalEGram,2 the organization’smonthly online magazine, which provides original reporting on current newspertaining to the botanical and natural products communities. The HerbalGram tea market report isbased on sales data from the mainstream multi-outlet, natural, andspecialty/gourmet channels supplied by SPINS (and SPINS Multi-Outlet powered byIRI [a Chicago-based market-research company]). The data do not include teasales from food-service settings including restaurants, cafés, delis, andsimilar establishments. Additionally, sales from a number of other teadistribution channels — including food service, mail order, online, networkmarketing, convenience stores, Whole Foods Market, and thousands of independentspecialty tea shops — are not assessed by any single entity. Were those salesdata available and included, the report estimates total US tea sales for 2014could be in excess of $15 billion.HerbalGram’s 2014 Tea Market Reportincludes 10 tables, which present isolated and combined sales data from themainstream multi-outlet, natural, and specialty/gourmet channels in 2014, aswell as sales figures from burgeoning niche categories such as organic,non-GMO, and Fair Trade teas. Additional tables rank sales by packaging as wellas the top-selling primary herb ingredients in herbal beverage and medicinalteas. Among loose, bagged, and concentrated teas in 2014, black tea bags continuedtheir dominant trend. Loose iced teas and powder tea mixes followed, succeededby green and white tea bags, herbal beverage tea bags, and medicinal tea bags.The top five herbs in 2014 in the US medicinal tea (bag) sector were,respectively, chamomile (Matricaria recutita)flower, senna (Sennaalexandrina) leaf, ginger (Zingiber officinale) root, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root and leaf, and echinacea (Echinacea spp.) root and leaf. In the 2014 US herbal beverage tea(bag) category, top-selling primary herbs were chamomile, mints (Mentha spp.), ginger, valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root, and guayusa (Ilex guayusa) leaf. SPINS defines “medicinal teas” as all medicinal teaswith one or more medicinal ingredient, often marketed with a dietary supplementstructure-function claim, or strongly associated with a health focus. “Herbalbeverage” tea refers to single or blended beverage infusions formulated withvarious combinations of fruits, spices, herbs, and C. sinensis not marketed with any health-related claim; they areconsidered conventional foods in a regulatory sense. “The tea market continues to expand, and, with our 2014 report, for the firsttime we’ve compiled and reported these data in HerbalGram,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director MarkBlumenthal. “The growth in the tea market parallels some of the strong,sustained growth that we have documented for many years in the HerbalGram Herb Market Report. (Theherbal supplement market data to which Blumenthal refers may be found in ABC’sannual Herb MarketReport, which tracks a category ofproducts other than tea.3)The collaborative 2014 tea market report was written by veteran tea marketindustry analyst and consultant BrianKeating, founder of Seattle-based specialty tea and natural productsconsultancy SageGroup; Ash Lindstrom, editor of HerbalGram and primary author of ABC’s 2012 and 2013 annual herbmarket reports; Mary Ellen Lynch, SPINSdirector of consumer insights and strategic partnerships; and Blumenthal.Keatingnotes, “The HerbalGram annual teamarket report will quickly become the go-to resource for tea brands seekingfresh marketplace data and specialty tea industry analysis. We’re pleased topartner with HerbalGram and SPINS,the leading provider of retail consumer insights and analytics for the Natural,Organic and Specialty Products Industry.” References

  1. Keating B, Lindstrom A, Lynch ME, Blumenthal M. Sales of tea & herbaltea increase 3.6% in United States in 2014. HerbalGram.2015;105:59-67. Available at: Accessed February 26, 2015.
  2. Keating B, Lindstrom A, Lynch ME, Blumenthal M. Sales of tea & herbaltea increase 5.9% in United States in 2013: 2014 tea sales on track to set arecord. HerbalEGram. Available at: Accessed November 20, 2014.
  3. Lindstrom A, Ooyen C, Lynch ME, Blumenthal M, Kawa K. Sales of herbaldietary supplements increase by 7.9% in 2013, marking a decade of rising sales.HerbalGram. 2014;103:52-56. Available at: Accessed November 20, 2014.