Heating Up Tea Expo

February 11/Las Vegas/States News Service -- From June 24-26, the World Tea Expo will showcase some of the hottest trends for hot tea and the growing emergence of tea-specific retailers.

"Whether it's foodservice looking to incorporate tea across profit centers or a retail establishment that wants to add the newest tea products, 2011 is a key year as tea is on the mindset of a new generation," says Kim Jage, executive vice president of World Tea Expo.

Major tea trends include:
Celebrity Tea Lines -- Celebrities like Donald Trump, Lady Gaga and Padma Lakshmi who have their own tea lines are helping to introduce tea to new audiences. "Celebrities see the value in getting in the tea business...We expect these lines to be highly successful, and we anticipate similar lines emerging in the future."

Marketing Tea to Men and Millennials -- "We're not only seeing a younger generation of tea professionals at our events, we're also seeing tea companies and retailers marketing to men and Millennials with specific products."

Innovative Tea Packaging -- Unique, innovative, made-from-the-earth and functional tea product packaging is also "in." "The industry will see more of this creative and environmentally-smart packaging at this year's event, and consumers can expect to see this at the store front."

Tea-Specific Retailers -- More tea retail outlets are opening. Some of the biggest names making strides include: Adagio Teas, Harney and Sons Fine Teas, DavidsTea and Argo Tea Cafe. "The newer tea retailers that do offer foodservice serve modern food in modern decor, or they are Asian inspired, unlike traditional tea rooms which are more Victorian in nature."

Social Media and Tea -- "We anticipate more tea marketing on a social media level, and we'll see more social media links placed on tea packaging, in addition to being a part of traditional advertising and marketing."

Emphasis on Tea Origins -- "We're seeing the industry and consumers talking more about the origin of the tea they are drinking, the process it took to get here and the cultural customs surrounding it."

From "Specialty" to "Premium" Tea -- The tea industry used to group all of its whole-leaf tea into a category called "specialty." Now, "specialty" is being further categorized with more and more professionals and tea companies using the term "premium" when referring to high-quality tea versus tea that is simply whole leaf or scented.

Organic Tea and Sustainability -- "We will surely see more natural product retailers selling private-label organic teas. Most big retailers already have their organic private label lines and teas will be included," says Jage.  

The event will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, June 24-26, and conference registration and details are available at www.WorldTeaExpo.com.

From the February 21, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition