New Delhi: In the fast-paced urban environment where there's a marked change in millennials' preferences, the perception of tea is fast shifting from being a commodity into a lifestyle product, say experts.
"They travel, they see, they taste and above all, they are conscious about their health. They like to experiment and understand. They have found the sunshine in a cup to be their go to beverage. It serves their purpose of feeling rejuvenated and are ready to seize the day," Anamika Singh from Anandini Himalaya Tea told IANS on the sidelines of the Superfood for Super women session at The Imperial Culinary Club.
According to Siddharth Jain, Founder, Brewhouse Ice Teas, not just millennials but people of all age groups are looking for healthier alternative beverages.
"Iced tea is an alternative to unhealthy, sugar-laden, flavoured beverages. People are realizing that tea is healthy for its antioxidant properties, is not very high on caffeine and is a natural way to relax and unwind, which is becoming a common need in the fast-paced urban environment," Jain says.
"There is a shift happening towards black and green tea without the use of milk. In addition to this, people are developing an interest in flavoured and blended teas with herbs and tisanes. The motivation for this change is not only the taste but functionality as well. All these factors are pointing towards strong demand for such tea-based beverage options in the future," he added.
Parimal Shah, president, MK Jokai Agri Plantations Pvt Ltd, a manufacturer of Assam Orthodox Tea, says the charm of tea cuts across all classes and regions across India.
"With consumer preferences becoming increasingly sophisticated, the perception of tea is slowly but steadily changing from a commodity into a lifestyle product, especially in tier-I metro cities and people are becoming more and more demanding with the way they consume tea, they buy tea and pretty much the way they perceive tea.
"Those organizations who have managed to use technology to market tea and who have gone out of the way to formulate creative and innovative blends have gained immense goodwill and recognition," Shah told IANS.
Stressing on the importance of innovation in tea, he said, "It has indeed become quite crucial and people, especially youngsters are ready and in fact looking forward to experimenting with their taste buds instead of merely going ahead with consuming traditional tea," he said, maintaining that the traditional masala chai has and will continue to remain an integral part of the Indian diet.
"Also, more and more people are looking for tea blends with medicinal properties which aid in soothing the mind and senses, especially in the evenings, after a meal or before going to bed. Several herbs which aid in digestion are now used as part of herbal and ayurvedic tea formulations and are finding increasing demand in the consumer's shopping cart."