International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) has expanded its existing tea portfolio with flavors from around the globe which focus on four categories - white, black, green and Oolong tea. In the US, tea was considered old fashioned but attitudes have shifted and now it is a "more trendy" drink, according to IFF flavor creation manager Marie Wright. She also believes that tea will emerge as a food flavor for products such as marinades, sweets and dairy. Wright told FoodNavigator-usa.com: "At first when you think of tea you think of a beverage but it has an application outside the realm of beverage. "I think we are going to see an emergence of tea right across the categories." Nestlé already sells Green Tea Kit Kat bars in Japan and in the UK ingredients firm Pecan Deluxe recently revealed plans to add green tea extracts to chocolate. The US market for tea is expected to double over the next five years, boosted by a growing interest in wellness, according to Packaged Facts. The group estimate that sales for instant, leaf, liquid concentrate and ready-to-drink tea will reach nearly $15bn by 2012, compared to $7.4bn this year. It said that tea's "all-natural halo" and its lower caffeine content than coffee or cola is one of the major attractions for consumers. However, Wright added: "One of the most interesting aspects of tea is emotion. It is a very relaxing beverage. There is a lot of association between food taste and emotion and there is some connection there that needs to be explored." IFF worked directly with growers from tea plantations to develop its new portfolio of flavors which includes White Peony, Long Jing, Gyokuro, Oolong Tie Guan Yin, Darjeeling, Jasmine Green, and Chrysanthemum. Wright said: "The flavors in capture not only the classic attributes that differentiate one varietal from another, but also the subtle, elusive nuances. "The hearty toasted molasses notes of Darjeeling, the delicate apricot and brown spice character of White Peony tea and the fresh-cut grass aroma of Long Jing, are expertly crafted and recreated for a full, authentic experience." In the US, 82 percent of tea is drunk as iced tea but Wright added: "There has started to be a change in the perception of tea. "In response to that, we saw that there was a huge opportunity to develop our portfolio and become much more specialist." IFF said the tea flavors come from the tea itself as well as IFF recreating the essence but the emphasis is on naturals from the named source.
The US, China and Singapore are the key markets and the flavor profile can be changed to suit different global tastes. Jasmine tea, for example, would have less astringency and be more floral in Asia whilst in the US it would be less floral and have more of the tea profile.
People in the US tend to drink black and green tea, while white tea is emerging and there is an interest in Oolong.