Data from Nayuki showed that from January to November 2019, sales of its sugar-free tea series which includes cold brew and pure tea, was 0.67% higher than its popular cheese tea series, the first time in four years.
Peng Xin, the founder of Nayuki told FoodNavigator-Asia: “Healthy, low calories, and low sugar are the future trends of new-style tea drinks. Over the past 10 months, 50% of consumers have chosen less or no sugar when purchasing tea.”
China’s tea market
According to Nayuki and 36Kr, a Chinese news and data website, the tea market (new-style teas and traditional tea) in China was projected to exceed RMB 400 billion (US$58 billion) by the end of 2019. It was published in a whitepaper titled 2019 New-style Tea Drinks Consumption.
New-style teas are characterised as freshly made tea combined with other ingredients such as fruits, milk and cream cheese etc.
Tea for the young
The growth in popularity of new-style teas is changing perceptions about a drink, which is traditionally consumed by older generations.
Peng told us: “We observed that there was a stereotype for tea drinking. Young people would think that tea is for older people, and that it is a very traditional and old-school drink.”
She said new-style teas opened a window for young people to know more about traditional tea. The new-style tea drinks market first started in 2015, before growing exponentially.
According to Peng, the creative use of ingredients and healthier versions that were lower in sugar were important to consumers when purchasing tea.
Sugar first, cheese second
The whitepaper reported that consumers of new-style tea drinks are more concerned about their health, especially in terms of sugar intake.
A beverage with sugar content of more than 7.5g/100g is considered a high-sugar beverage. According to the whitepaper, sugar content in all of Nayuki’s beverages have an average sugar content of around 5.9g/100g, substantially less, it claims, that its competitors.
This health trend is what led to Nayuki’s growing sales in its six healthier sugar-free teas.
The company is currently launching eight more sugar-free tea products in its store in Shenzhen, “In the next few months, we will sell nationwide, based on consumer feedback,” Peng said.
Apart from the sugar content, Peng added consumers also paid attention in the type of ingredients used.
In a survey conducted by 38Kr, 83% of respondents expressed preference for fruit teas, followed by the once popular milk tea (65%). More than half of users also preferred fresh tea made with fresh ingredients.
Data from Nayuki showed cheese topped the list as the favourite ingredient in new-style teas (75.4%), exceeding other ingredients such as probiotics, and ice cream.
In addition to its 338 offline stores in China, Nayuki’s teas are also available on WeChat Mini Programs and the firm’s online store.