September 2006 Edition
Growing Awareness of Health Benefits, Boost Popularity of Tea-time

Already the world’s most popular prepared beverage, tea is increasingly becoming the beverage of choice for many Canadians. With its exotic array of flavours and distinctive tastes, it’s no surprise more than 70% of Canadians are choosing to drink tea.1 And this number is growing fast; tea consumption has increased 43% over the past ten years2 as more and more Canadians realize the health benefits associated with tea.

 

Canadians are taking an interest in living a healthier lifestyle, and are embracing tea as a healthy beverage choice. Tea is an all-natural beverage with no additives, artificial flavourings or colours and contains no calories when enjoyed on its own. Furthermore, tea is the richest source of a class of antioxidants called flavonoids and contains many other beneficial compounds such as vitamins and fluoride. According to some experts, tea contributes approximately 60% of dietary flavonoids in the diet.3

 

“Both black and green teas are rich in the antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids. Moreover, tea contains no calories, no carbohydrates, no salt and no fat. No wonder tea should be part of a healthy lifestyle”, says Louise Roberge, President of the Tea Association of Canada. “With so many flavours to choose from, it is easy to find one that you like. Drinking even one cup a day can help prevent certain diseases and make you feel better about taking care of yourself.”

 

There is also a growing body of research identifying tea as an important preventative agent in the development of several chronic diseases such as hypertension and osteoporosis. In addition, drinking two to three cups of tea per day may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain forms of cancers.4

 

Although there are different varieties and flavours of tea to choose from, all tea comes from the tea plant camellia sinensis. While each tea derives a different taste from its unique processing methods, all tea contains antioxidants beneficial to the human body.

 

Two of the most popular types of tea are black tea and green tea. Black tea, which embodies a wide range of tastes from very bold, rich and refreshing flavours to more soothing, floral and fruity options, has typically been the most popular choice for Canadian tea lovers. However, green tea is enjoying significant growth in popularity and sales, particularly among young adults. Green tea offers a variety of flavours to choose from including delicate and refreshing to lemon and fruity. Herbal tea, while not officially a tea but often a combination of various herbs and botanicals, is yet another beverage many tea-drinkers enjoy. Herbal infusions offer a tremendous variety of flavours, some which soothe and rejuvenate and others which invigorate and refresh.

 

Canadians are increasingly looking to explore the world of tea as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, re-inventing tea as the beverage of choice for Canadian consumers.

 

These tea lovers are looking for premium-quality teas with distinctive taste profiles and imaginative flavour combinations to ensure the tea drinking experience is fully maximized. Foodservice operators looking to boost business will want to consider placing a greater focus on tea in order to capitalize on the opportunities within this rapidly growing market.

 

With contributions from Starbucks Coffee Canada

 

1  Source:  Tea Association of Canada.  Tea Up a Relaxing, Refreshing and Healthful Holiday Season; www.tea.ca

 

2  Source:  Statistics Canada, CANSIM, 2006.

 

3  Source:  Kim, Y.  Tea’s biologic activity and benefits in human health.  www.tea.ca

 

4  Source:  Tea Association of Canada.  Tea Up a Relaxing, Refreshing and Healthful Holiday Season; www.tea.ca