National tea day: Innovation in the tea category


21 April 2023


Full disclaimer: this post has been written by someone who is British. Stereotypes would have you believe that as a nation we drink tea out of fine porcelain teacups, whilst helping ourselves to finger sandwiches and a selection of cakes. A delightful image, but perhaps not always accurate. This is especially true in the modern world, where innovations in tea have led to numerous new developments and now it is so much more than a question of milk and sugar. The Product and Ingredient Innovation (PII) team have looked at the trends in tea, so that you know what to look out for. We would say put the kettle on and enjoy, but with endless ‘possibili-teas’, why limit yourself?



TikTok tea revolution




Social media has taken the world by storm, especially the likes of TikTok and Instagram. These platforms allow consumers to put a glamorous spin on their favourite things, and beverages and tea are certainly not exempt. The social media giants are full of videos encouraging their audience to slow down, take a break, make this tea.


Often, the videos show an aesthetically pleasing concoction paired with relaxing music and ASMR. The tea of choice? Anything and everything, as long as it is pretty. From the humble ginger and lemon to the more exotic colour-changing butterfly pea tea, TikTok and Instagram are the places to be when it comes to discovering the next hot thing, which may be a very helpful starting point for those looking to develop in the tea market.

We like tea a latte


A café latte is nothing new but take away the coffee and replace it with tea and it’s novel and exciting. Tea based lattes are as versatile as tea itself - made from loose tea leaves and frothed milk, the flavour combinations are virtually endless. Popular and well-established variations include spiced chai lattes or matcha lattes, but golden turmeric lattes, or London Fog lattes (made with earl grey tea) are slowly becoming more popular amongst consumers.


Innovations in the category include the development of tea pods which are compatible with home coffee machines, allowing you to perfect your favourite drinks from the comfort of your own home. And for those out there who don’t have access to a coffee machine, you can now get your favourite tea lattes in canned format, so you can have your iced tea on the move.




Bubble tea for you and me


Bubble tea has been around for a fair while now, but it is a trend that has stood the test of time and is still growing in popularity. Invented in Taiwan, a typical bubble tea is made up of fruit, milk and tapioca pearls or boba. The gain in popularity with bubble tea is likely due to the vast range of flavours and toppings available, meaning it is easy to customise to each consumer. Expect to find exciting fruit infused green tea flavours such as strawberry, kiwi or pineapple which can be topped with traditional boba, rainbow boba, or flavoured jellies. There truly is something for everyone. And for those looking for an authentic boba experience in the UK market, you can even find savoury flavours popular in Asian markets, such as taro, salty matcha and even cheese tea.




Good for me tea


Post pandemic, health is still clearly at the forefront of many innovations, with consumers searching for new and exciting ways to introduce healthful ingredients into their everyday lives. Tea based beverages, such as probiotic kombucha, are beneficial for the growth of good gut flora which can have positive impacts on the whole body, including skin health and mental wellbeing.


Herbal teas have widely been associated with health and wellbeing for many years, such as peppermint tea to aid digestion or camomile tea to aid sleep. We have now seen a range of teas being launched with added vitamins and minerals, allowing producers to include on-pack good for you claims such as a source of vitamin B6 which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity - a particularly interesting claim due to the current trend surrounding women’s health throughout the lifecycle.



With the world of tea expanding into more and more flavours and formats, tea-drinking opportunities are more abundant than ever. From exciting and indulgent bubble tea to tea with healthy benefits, tea for on the move or tea to relax with, we are now left with the ultimate question - how do you take yours?

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