Off-trade sales within the US RTD tea market rose by 7% in 2012 to reach US$4.8 billion, while total volume sales rose by 4% to reach 4.6 billion litres.
While a maturing category, RTD tea sales benefited from its healthy positioning and the improvement in the US economy that allowed consumers to purchase these beverages.
According to a new report, 'RTD Tea in the US', published on companiesandmarkets.com, health-oriented consumers are choosing RTD tea over other soft drinks, such as cola carbonates, due to its natural health properties, like antioxidants. Many Americans view RTD tea as better-for-you and lower in calories than other alternatives, even if most RTD tea consumption is of the sweetened variety.
Manufacturers have increased the appeal of RTD tea by going beyond traditional black tea to include lemonade and juice blends. RTD teas also benefit from their refreshing qualities, as the light texture allows consumers to drink much more RTD tea than they could of the thicker drinks such as juices and RTD coffees.
There are now many dozens of RTD teas available to consumers, some from national players and some with more regional distribution. In this environment, manufacturers continue to experiment with packaging as a point of differentiation.
In recent years, national players have made investments in smaller tea players. In March 2011, Coca-Cola completed its acquisition of Honest Tea, while in June 2011; Nestlé Waters also completed its acquisition of the Sweet Leaf Tea Company, which includes the Sweet Leaf and Tradewinds beverage brands.
Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons, maker of the Arizona RTD teas, continues to lead the US RTD tea market, with an off-trade value share of 26% in 2012, down from 27% in 2011. The company has been able to maintain its lead in this category through product innovation and low prices.
The Pepsi-Lipton Tea Partnership is the second leading player in the US RTD tea market, with an off-trade value share of 22% in 2012, down from 24% in 2011. The partnership between PepsiCo and Unilever has been very successful. Lipton's brand portfolio is available in most retail outlets, and it has a strong on-trade fountain presence as well, with at least one facing common on most Pepsi-branded fountain line-ups.
For more information on the US RTD tea market, see the latest research: US RTD Tea Market
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