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It’s Tea Time for America

July 13, 2008 12:02 PM
by Anne Szustek
The health benefits linked with regular tea consumption, combined with its affordability and image of luxury and relaxation, are helping spur American sales figures of the drink.

30-Second Summary

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U.S. tea sales at supermarkets almost reached $2 billion in 2006. A huge spike in sales of the brew in America last year brought that number to $7.4 billion for 2007, Business Week reports. The figure is predicted to hit $15 billion by 2012.

High-end teas have evolved into a way for tea distributors to add value. The specialty tea segment makes up some 36 percent of tea sold in the United States—and is projected to constitute more than half of tea purchased in the country by 2012, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.

Gene Dunkin, the president of Tea Forte, told Business Week his company offers American consumers an “affordable luxury.”

USA Today wrote in Oct. 2007 that “many Americans already regard tea as a health drink,” pointing to robust sales numbers as evidence.

Jeffrey Blumberg at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy told WebMD, “Tea is a very rich source of a specific kind of antioxidant called flavonoids,” which have been shown to reduce the risk of blood clotting, cancer, and hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis.

Studies suggest that tea also improves concentration. City University of New York researcher Prof. John Foxe said clinical trials showed that theanine, an amino acid found in tea, can cross the blood and brain barrier. Subjects who were given 100 milligrams of theanine in combination with 60 milligrams of caffeine showed better concentration. The study was financed by Unilever, the parent company of Lipton Tea.

Headline Link: ‘It’s a Hot Time for Tea’

Audio: ‘Tea for You and Me’

Background: Green and black tea sales on the upswing

Reference: Web Guide to Tea

Related Topic: The Foodie: Afternoon Tea

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