Consumers are taking on board the health benefits of green tea, and this sector has grown by 11.6% to £11.6m [Nielsen MAT w/e 30 June 2007].
"Green tea continues to grow," says Waitrose's Michael Simpson-Jones. "I believe the interest from customers is more to do with the health benefits of green tea, as there are some very bad-quality green teas on the market."
The number one green tea in the UK is Clipper's Pure Green Tea [Nielsen w/e 14 July 2007]. According to Clipper Teas, its Pure Green Tea is outperforming the green tea category, with year-on-year growth of 19%. Its own sales figures show growth over the past year, with sales equating to more than one million cups of tea a week.
"Clipper is performing very well in the green tea category," says Gill Hesketh, head of marketing, Clipper Teas.
"We are seeing excellent growth from the rest of our range, particularly the Organic Fairtrade Green, and Organic Fairtrade Green with Lemon."
The category is enjoying much NPD activity, especially with flavoured green teas.
Andrew Jones from Taylors of Harrogate says some customers found green tea astringent in flavour, "so we brought out delicate green tea and have had positive feedback".
Green teas combined with superfoods seem to be a trend. Examples include Clipper's new Cranberry Green Tea and Pulpa's new Acai Berries and Green Tea Infusion.
Twinings' Green Tea and Cranberry is a big seller, according to Paul Murphy, general manager UK, North America and Australia. "Green tea is a world phenomenon - it's growing in the US and Australia and is huge in China."
Another emerging trend is Japanese green tea.
Clipper has brought out Sencha Tea, a Japanese-style green tea, while Only Natural Products has launched Dr Stuart's Genmaicha, made with Japanese green tea and organic roasted brown rice.