Business World


Observations for 2005

Iced Coffee - Well, kids are now drinking it. Starbucks is currently the coolest place for teenagers to hang out. My daughter’s high school just began offering iced coffee beverages in the cafeteria, while the only available iced teas are bottles of Snapple. Sounds like a foodservice opportunity for some!

Tea Shops and Choices - More shops are opening. Tea salons are becoming the chic place to go, but it’s still a place for those special occasions, not yet one for weekly visits. Choice teas are also becoming more popular as consumers are not only noticing the taste difference, but are also willing to pay the difference for their cup. Cousin just told me she spent $7.00 for a pot of white tea at a New York tea salon!

For that growth and change in business, just thank the spa trade for their role. Baby boomers can now afford and feel a need for anti-aging treatments, facials, etc. Spas realize that patrons will not be content sipping a supermarket brand (after spending almost a hundred dollars on a treatment) -- and are offering blended teas, herbs and spices to promote wellness. Consumer magazines are touting tea’s health benefits as well, with catchphrases like, “Give a gift of health - Give tea as a Christmas present”.

Packaging - Take a look at the gourmet market, where packaging is going upscale. Pyramid teabags, teabags that stand, tins of teas, elegant coffee packaging, vivid and lush color graphics. Do you want a product to stand out? Enter this jungle of competition.

Gadgets - Tea kettles, tea cup accessories and brewers are infusing the market. Now available and popular are single-serve brewers, and espresso and cappuccino machines that are so costly, it’s almost like putting in a mortgage payment. Yet, they’re still selling!

Retail Expansion - More and more knowledgeable people are opening up tea and coffee retail shops. They’re educated, have done their research and love the beverage. For those still looking for that perfect location, Asia is still a goldmine!

Meanwhile, Starbucks seems to have found another great location. They hit my little country town in New Milford, Connecticut. The kids are happy, since there’s a new place to congregate and drink lattes.

I must also commend Howard Schultz, who has recently taken the U.S. government to task for not containing health insurance costs. It has become a non-sustainable business issue. His personal mission is to offer health insurance to all his employees who work over for 20-hours. Thank you Mr. Schultz, for your leadership.

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher

Tea & Coffee - December/January, 2006

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