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It’s tea’s time “Tea is exploding in Canada,”

says Louise Roberge, president of the Tea Association of Canada. And that’s no exaggeration. Recent data from Statistics Canada and research firm NPD Group confirm that tea consumption among most age categories from teenagers to baby boomers is growing.


October | November 2011



consumers are bringing the out-of-home experience into their homes.”

“Canadians drink a lot of tea,” says Vince

Sgabellone, an account manager with NPD Group that conducted one of

Ron Sadler, chairman of the Tea Association of Canada and the

the recent studies on tea consumption for the Tea Association of Canada.

managing director of Twinings Canada, thinks grocery retailers are missing

“Sixty per cent of Canadians we polled say they drink hot tea at least once

out on an opportunity to jumpstart tea sales. “Retailers should understand that tea is often an impulse purchase

a week, which is a higher number than we expected. And on average

so it’s important to offer something new and different to capture their

hot tea drinkers consume approximately 6.5 cups of tea per week.”


Not only is tea consumption growing; so is the variety of teas

Just positioning tea in a secondary location, for instance having a

consumers are demanding.

basket of tea, or a Tea-of-the-Month that includes some origin information

Indeed, Rick Winslow of Nielsen, who has conducted extensive research on tea, says there’s a “specialty tea movement going on whereby

near the bakery aisle, can increase sales.”


TOP TEA TRENDS A Multicultural Society with Diverse Tastes

Here are the top trends Nielsen

Much of Canada’s growing multicultural population originates from tea-consuming regions in

> Consumers are looking for new

has identified:

Asia, so demand for more exotic teas reflective of the countries people come from is growing.

experiences. There’s been a big

This is the main reason specialty coffee shops are now expanding their tea selection and it’s a

surge in growth for specialty teas,

good reason for retailers to do the same.

particularly flavoured black and flavoured green teas. > Growing demand for single-

Percentage Of Immigration 2001-2006 from Traditionally Tea Drinking Countries

serve hot beverages. The trend began with single-serve




coffee, but now consumers are using their single-serve



coffee machines for tea too. The growth began in the



US, where 15 per cent of total



tea bag sales being sold today are single serve. Keurig K-cups






are a popular choice among tea drinkers. > Specialty tea purchases are more typical among wealthier, twomember households.









Source: Statistics Canada and CIBC World Markets.

A st rongdesire t o

Embrace Healthier Lifestyles

> Regionally, Ontario and the Maritimes have more traditional tea drinkers whereas Western Canada has an affinity for more exotic and flavourful teas. > Research has shown that consumers get confused by the large array of teas. Retailers can minimize the confusion by

“It’s no secret that people want to be healthier and tea is a natural product. It has zero calories,

rethinking how and where they

no proteins, no salt and no additives,” explains Tea Association of Canada’s Louise Roberge.

display tea products.

Green tea, for example, is the only hot beverage earning Health Canada’s seal of approval for its antioxidant properties. The facts speak for themselves, says Roberge: more consumers are turning to tea as their hot beverage of choice.

A HOT COMMODITY Tea is the world’s second most popular hot beverage after water and its popularity in North America is surging. If you’re not promoting tea in your store, you’re missing the opportunity to boost sales in your hot beverage category. Here’s why: > 50% of tea drinkers turn to the retail channel to make choices on


A Hot & Steamy Sales Boost


hen Longo’s launched its Aromate Café in 2008, it was an instant

success. The scent of on-site freshly ground

new tea brands, new blends and

and roasted coffee beans lured consumers

new flavours.

to the new kiosk within its store. Today,

> Close to 60% of Canadians drink hot tea. The under 34 age group drink more of the new teas, such as

“We have been able to develop

Longo’s has expanded its offering with its

ongoing relationships with our customers —

own line of teas. It was a smart move. Sales have been

they are able to find what they are looking

white, green, flavored and herbal.

increasing by double digits year over year,

for, but we can also offer them a variety of

> Hot tea drinkers consume 6.5 cups

says Mary-Ellen Schick, category manager-

new options and choices for them to choose

grocery for Longo’s Support Center, as she

from,” says Schick.

per week. > Almost 50% of tea consumed at home is black, 29% is green and 16% is herbal. > 20% of tea drinkers drink both black and green teas. > 64% of tea drinkers add a

Part of Longo’s sales growth in tea has

explains why Longo’s chose to add tea to its hot beverage offerings in its Aromate Café.

to do with the growing recognition of tea as

“The original concept of Aromate was

a health product. Schick says consumers are

to build a hot beverage destination and tea

“increasingly more health conscious and as

was an important part of that right from the

such, people are choosing more green teas,

beginning,” explains Mary-Ellen Schick. “We

more herbals and single estate teas.” As part of its marketing strategy,

sweetener to their tea, with honey

were able to offer a very wide selection of

being the most popular followed

loose leaf teas including white, green, black,

Longo’s offers tea accessories such as tea

by sweetener substitutes such as

oolong and herbal. We also have a special

pots, strainers and gift sets with its tea and

Stevia and Agave.

Aromate Herbal Blend, which is one of our

demand for such accessories is growing.

best sellers.”

It also offers tea tasting at its Aromate

The unique focus on tea has also been good for business in the grocery aisles.


Café and tea prep demos, conducted by specialists trained by its tea suppliers.



he Tea Emporium opened its doors in 2001 and is launching a unique store-within-a-store program at Loblaws’ high profile Maple Leaf Gardens location in downtown Toronto. Owner Shabnam Weber and her business partner, Frank Weber have a passion for tea and for business. They already operate programs in many of Loblaws Toronto stores but the new program will be more of a mini Tea Emporium. “It’s a 10-by-10 tea market within the store itself, not just on the periphery,” explains Shabnam. To complete the customer experience the tea market will cross-merchandise complimentary products such as tea spices and accessories.


> Set-up in-store “tea day” demos focusing on new teas and how to prepare them. > Partner with your tea suppliers; they’re your best source of information and

support in helping you grow sales in your tea category. > Know consumer market trends and be prepared to adjust your in-store sales strategies to take advantage of them. > Offer taste-testing sessions; become a “tea sommelier.” A great resource and information on tea sommelier training is the Tea Association of Canada’s web site:

> Create cross-merchandising displays by combining specialty teas from China, Kenya, and India, for example, with foods from that country or region. > Shake-up your traditional tea display by creating shelf space in other areas of your store. For example, display specialty teas beside your sweetener aisle or create a “healthy tea” section in the natural and health foods area.

Tea Association of Canada:Tea Trends  
Tea Association of Canada:Tea Trends  

“Tea is exploding in Canada,” says Louise Roberge, president of the Tea Association of Canada. And that’s no exaggeration. Recent data from...