Lifestyle changes and food-safety concerns contribute to organic tea’s growth

With the heatwave in New York (along with much of the United States, the United Kingdom and many countries in Europe) continuing, I find myself increasingly swapping my water for iced tea (the cold brews and iced coffees remain), as the fruity and herbal blends are so refreshing. And thanks to samples from exhibitors at the recent Fancy Food Show, many of the teas are organic.  

Purchasing more organic products is becoming common among consumers due to changing lifestyles and the growing belief that organic products – naturally derived and grown pesticide-free – are healthier than conventional ones. One category benefitting from this move is tea. 

A new report from Future Market Insights shows that the global organic tea market is expected to reach a market value of USD $1.2 billion this year, with a CAGR of 8.2% from 2022 to 2032. Moreover, “sales of organic tea are projected to have higher price realisation thereby improving the socio-economic situation of tea producers,” writes analyst Nandini Roy Choudhury in the report. 

Aside from tea’s overall reputation as a healthy beverage, the benefits of organic tea include maintaining digestive health and activating good bacteria in the gut thus improving gut health. Accessibility and variety are also contributing to the growth of organic tea as market participants have been expanding their investments in producing unique products in the black, white, green, and oolong tea categories, and of course, in herbal and botanical blends, to cater to a wide range of tastes and health requirements of consumers. 

Future Market Insights (FMI) finds that several other factors are contributing to the growth of the organic tea market such as the rising demand for flavonoid-based beverages, which contain antioxidants. Food safety has become a critical consideration for consumers – the growing concern about cadmium’s harmful effects on human health for example – and is therefore likely to broaden the range of nutritional products obtained from organic crops. Thus, organic food, which is cultivated naturally without the use of chemical fertilizers, such as organic tea leaf, are regarded safer than conventional tea leaf. Furthermore, the growing trend towards clean label (nutritious) beverages is also helping the organic tea market gain traction. 

Choudhury also notes that “consumers seeking an authentic tea experience will result in high demand for specialty tea. This is expected to aid the organic tea market growth.” 

The supply chain for the organic tea market was severely affected by Covid-19, resulting in a slowdown in sales. However, with the recovery of the economy and rising demand for functional beverages, the market is anticipated to grow significantly. Per FMI, the North America organic tea market is expected to grow at 7.9% CAGR during the forecast period, Europe is expected to account for 3/7th of the global organic tea consumption through 2032. 

As organic products have become more commonplace, items like organic tea they have become more accessible and can be found at mainstream supermarkets and online, not just at high-end grocery stores and health food stores. Based on product type, FMI estimates herbal organic tea to account for over 50% of the market share over the forecast period. Organic tea sold in tea bags is expected to hold a market share of over 40% during the forecast period. 

The current heatwave – which has a dubious end date – presents me with the perfect opportunity to continue sampling organic iced tea, but which botanical blend to have? So many choices… 

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