The “U.S. Tea is 'Hot' Report”™ by the Sage Group, Seattle, offers a projection that might surprise some observers of the U.S. tea industry. The report forecasts that green tea will outsell black tea in the U.S. by the year 2008.

The Sage Group considers the U.S. a “final frontier” for international super-producers of tea looking for new markets—and for entrepreneurs marketing specialty tea offerings. Foodservice tea preparation is “iffy,” says the report. The segment has found receptive consumers but, also, has strong competition from non-tea beverages.

More positive news for tea marketers can be found regarding tea's healthful benefits. One recent study found that habitual tea drinking over several years can preserve bone density in men and women. Saying the bone-preserving effects were “clearly demonstrated,” study authors Chih-Hsing Wu and Chih-Jen Chang of the National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan, speculated that the high fluoride content in tea, particularly green tea, as well as flavonoids and phytoestrogen, may help preserve bone density over time. In addition, the pair believe other ingredients may inhibit bone resorption and boost the metabolic creation of bone. They also determined that the duration of habitual tea drinking made the difference on bones, not the amount of tea consumed.

For more information on the “U.S. Tea is 'Hot' Report,” contact Brian Keating, 206-282-1789.

Sidebar: THE IN BOX:

In a deal valued at $5.6 billion, South African Breweries plc is buying Miller Brewing Company, subject to regulatory review. The transaction is expected to close in July, at which time South African Breweries will change its name to SABMiller plc and become the second-largest brewer in the world.

Sensient Flavors & Fragrances Inc. acquired Melchers Flavors of America, a supplier of specialty flavors to the coffee and tea industries.

Barrington Foods Inc. has formed a strategic alliance with West Coast Ingredients to help meet international demands for Barrington's products.

Rich Products appointed Kerry Chace to national account manager.

Newly Weds Foods purchased RHM Ingredients Ltd. of the U.K., where the company will operate as Newly Weds Foods Ltd.