Is tea consumption ‘spilling’ over into different dayparts?

Streetbees Team
April 11, 2022

When is it really ‘tea time’ for consumers?

The rising love of coffee and a desire for sweeter, more refreshing flavours have dampened the black tea market in recent years. But the total tea market is expected to balloon by 7% by 2027. As the category grows and more players enter the field, we’re seeing a shift in the way consumers are interacting with tea, including why they’re choosing it and when. 

According to our bees, hot tea has evolved from a morning staple to an afternoon energy boost, while tea-based drinks, like iced tea, provide a welcome refresher during lunchtime or after work. Herbal or fruit teas, on the other hand, have taken the morning spot as a ‘healthy’ start to the day and are also chosen in the evening to unwind before bed. In this  new landscape,  tea is consumed throughout the day in different forms - giving brands a great opportunity to grow market share by owning certain dayparts. 

*Based on Streetbees data in the US. 

Let’s look at the driving demand space behind tea consumption to help you position your brand. 

From our 4.5 million bees, who are constantly sharing their real-time habits and attitudes with us, we’ve seen growth in the following Demand Spaces for the three main blends of tea, showing the distinct occasions they’re winning in at different times of the day: 

  • Tea-based drinks = Work Refresh (a during-work occasion, where consumers are looking for something hydrating and refreshing)
  • Hot tea = Work Pick Me Up (a during-work occasion, where consumers are seeking an energising boost)
  • Herbal or fruit teas = Morning Help (a healthy kick-start to the day) and Relax & Refresh (a relaxed evening moment to unwind and reset)

So how can you grow your tea brand in these spaces?

1. Highlight the healthy refreshment of RTDs

Consumers are looking to tea-based beverages as a healthier replacement for sodas and more sugary drinks, but as something that’s equally as refreshing. In fact, when it comes to the main reason for choice, tea-based drinks over index as ‘refreshing’ (i142), compared to other beverages. 

Position your tea-based drink as an afternoon or evening refresher to win in the Work Refresh space. Explore RTD insulated cans as a way to keep the drink colder for longer and experiment with fruity, natural flavours to hit the healthy angle. 

*Based on Streetbees data in the US. 

Brand spotlights - ‘you’re not chai-ing hard enough’

* Humanitea has launched a range of premium, organic RTD teas in a variety of refreshing, fruity flavours, including mango and melon.* 

2. Champion the energy-boosting benefits of black tea

The place of traditional black tea as an early morning staple is waning, but it seems to be gaining popularity as an afternoon re-boost. Compared to other beverages, hot tea over indexes as a drink consumers choose when they’re looking for an ‘energy boost’ (i370), which is why it’s growing in the Work Pick Me Up space. 

To win here, articulate the energy-boosting benefits of black tea. Incorporate bright and tangy flavours to give consumers’ taste buds a wake up call during their afternoon ‘slog’. 

*Based on Streetbees data in the US. 

Brand spotlights - ‘let’s get this par-tea started’

Me Tea’s ‘Energise Me’ black tea has been designed to put a spring back into your step with a natural energy boost. 

3. Activate the bookmark occasions for herbal teas 

Herbal and fruit teas have replaced traditional black tea as an all-day drink. Consumers are opting for herbal and fruit blends as a healthy way to kick-start their day and to help them unwind at night. In fact, these blends over index as a ‘healthy choice’ in the beverage space (i121).

Consider introducing a range of herbal or fruit teas that activate the right health lever at the right time of day. For example, a lavender and camomile infusion for a restful night, or a peppermint boost to get you going in the morning. 

Brand spotlights - ‘what a brew-tiful day’

Twining’s ‘Drink in Life’ campaign introduces its new superblend range, which is designed to help with immunity, sleep, energy and heart health.


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