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New developments in tea flavours and natural ingredients for teas
Friday, 14 May, 2021, 16 : 00 PM [IST]
Rudra Chatterjee
The rise in tea consumption across the globe has brought many new flavoured teas to the market. Some of the most noteworthy yet conventional flavoured teas like Jasmine Green, Masala Chai, and Earl Grey have remained popular for several decades now but there have been new additions to this variety of tea like Cherry Marzipan, Cucumber Mint and Green Apple Spice to name a few.

It’s interesting to note that all flavoured teas are all made from the very same Camellia sinensis tea leaves to which flavours are added. Flavoured teas have weathered many a storm by the learned tea gentry and yet flavoured teas are now available in a wide assortment of qualities, from mass produced tea bags to whole leaves flavoured with organic, natural and nature identical ingredients.

As the industry evolves in the wake of the pandemic, changing consumer trends will transform the future of food and drink, tea included. Leading manufacturers of flavours and ingredients solutions for the tea industry, have released their 2021 flavour forecast which point at innovatively reconstructed breakfast teas, teas blended with plant protein derivatives, that has a forecasted compound annual growth rate of 9% from 2019-2023, and teas that offer heightened sensory experiences by combining adventurous tastes and flavours which will appeal to consumers stuck at home.

Teas such as wildflower honey and citrus which has been blended using green tea, wild flowers that grow during springtime and honey citrus flavours are captivatingly sublime and present the consumer with a myriad of new tea drinking experiences. Acai berry hibiscus, raspberry vanilla coconut and lingonberry green tea all form part of the ever-expanding teas tailor made for the young at heart. The list of exotically flavoured teas is quite endless today and several tea makers have understood the subtleties of blending teas with flowers, fruits and essences that are pleasing to the palate.

There is an alternate school of thought which believes that the caffeine content in teas lead to adverse health issues and therefore arises the need for herbal substitutes. Herbal teas are a relatively new emerging beverage made from the infusion of plant leaves, trendy botanicals, and spices.

The health benefits of herbal teas and emerging trends in the herbal infusions market are subject to extensive research and many plant-based herbal teas have been formulated with different functional ingredients that have been sourced from the US, EU, Japan, India, Brazil, and several other countries. The tea industry has started developing herbal teas and is expected to introduce more herbal tea products for health-conscious consumers due to their perceived functional, anti-ailment, and medicinal properties.

The global pandemic has strengthened an already growing trend for beverages with beneficial ingredients that may improve health or prevent future health issues. Of all the numerous functional options available, immunity-boosting teas are the most sought after. Ingredients and flavours that consumers recognize as immunity boosters – such as citrus and other fruits rich in vitamin C, berries, turmeric, moringa leaves, Indian gooseberry, liquorice, ginger and green tea or Matcha – are increasingly popular with consumers who are looking for the elusive elixir of life.

Another trend which has now since been established in 2021 is the use of new, trendy botanicals. In addition to the classic ingredients for herbal tea such as chamomile, lavender and ginger, more, though more for Western countries, fewer familiar ingredients are appearing on store shelves.

Turmeric, used as spice in the Asian and Indian cuisine since ancient times, has becoming overwhelmingly important for drinks, lattes and especially tea. It is said to possess antioxidative properties and immune system supporting benefits, as well as a must have for digestion. In combination with ginger, such tea is popular for their ability to prevent colds and stomach disorders.

Similar to turmeric, holy basil also derives from India and Thailand, is the most widely used medicinal herb in herbal teas. Due to its perceived stress reducing and wellness supporting benefits, it is now also on the rise outside India. It is considered to be an adaptogen, which are natural plant substances, often herbs, roots or fungi, which are reputed to assist the body to adapt to stressful situations. This includes moringa, revered by many as a miracle cure for various ailments. Moringa contains many essential ingredients such as vitamin A and C, calcium and iron.

The world of flavoured teas continues to evolve with the ever-increasing demand in variety by consumers who seek a work around to avoid beverage and food blindness as their lives revolve around their homes, waiting for an effective and permanent cure to the pandemic. While fruit and floral flavoured teas retain their positions as conventional favourites, herbal teas or rather functional teas that are medleys of an ever-increasing variety of unconventional and Instagram worthy botanicals are the go-to beverages choice and will remain to be so for several months to come.

(The author is managing director for Luxmi Group)
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