Beverage market still expanding as customers seek greater choice
IN THE DECADES SINCE THE 1980s Australia has seen remarkable growth in cafes and takeaway outlets catering to the growing demand for a wider variety of hot beverage choices as our palates have matured.
“We have certainly become a coffee loving nation both at work and away from home,” says Sissel Rosengren, Managing Director of Food Industry Foresight which tracks consumption of coffee and other beverage types. Unlike in Europe, the vast majority of coffees sold in Australia’s out of home market are still made with milk (80/90 per cent) – black coffee remains niche here.
And while espresso-based coffee was once considered somewhat exotic and the province of café society, today it’s drunk by all socio-economic and age groups across Australia. “In other words, the snobbishness is disappearing out of the market,” Sissel explains.
Another element that sets our coffee market apart from trends in other western nations is the rise of local roasters, especially across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. “Today there are so many coffee brands and suppliers both mainstream and specialty, and we have market categories such as organic, single origin, fair trade, and cold brewed. This means market differentiation is very strong and that keeps prices competitive.”
Australians have also evolved in their taste for tea. “We’ve seen a shift in the market, in that people have moved more towards loose leaf tea,” Sissel tells us. “So for several years there’s been an opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves by supplying brewed tea at the table.”
There’s also been a growth in both flavoured black tea and herbal teas. “In the out of home market it’s not uncommon to ask for a peppermint tea after dinner or even for lunch. Consumers want the same kind of variety in teas as they have in coffee – they can order a latte, a cappuccino, a macchiato and so they’re also looking for teas with different flavours. So to have a range of teas that you can serve is a good way to delineate your business from the competition.”
With demand for high end, artisanal and boutique teas increasing, Unilever Food Solutions has launched the internationally known Pure Leaf Tea brand into the
Australian market. “People are becoming more particular about the type of tea they consume out of home,” says Stacy Yoro, Unilever Food Solutions Category Marketing Manager. “They are showing a penchant for more exotic and high end teas such as green tea, fruit and herbal tea and black speciality tea.”
Pure Leaf Teas are 100 per cent sustainably sourced from Rainforest Alliance tea estates, in line with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. “By purchasing Pure Leaf Tea you are not only contributing to sustainable tea sourcing, but also making a positive impact to the lives of farmers and their families around the world,” Stacy explains.
The long leaf teas are from single-sourced origins and carefully selected from the top two leaves and the bud of the plant. To preserve their distinctive taste, they are expertly picked, then rolled and dried to minimise leaf damage and protect their aromas.
There are six tea leaf varieties of Pure Leaf Tea available, such as Black Tea with Berries which infuses a rich Kenyan tea base with strawberries, raspberries, redcurrant and blackberries, and eight varieties in pyramid tea bags including an Earl Grey blended with bergamot, marigold and blue petals that offers a smooth tea with crisp and zesty citrus notes.
“Brewing loose tea can transform the tea experience into a moment of sensory creativity and indulgence,” Stacy says, “while our silken pyramid tea bags have been shaped to allow more room for the long tea leaves to move, unfurl and release their flavours, providing a loose tea experience in a convenient and easy to brew format.”