By Katrina Wild
This report will comprehensively delve into the Belgian tea market and its trends but to understand the context more thoroughly, at first this article will briefly overview the global and European tea industry.
The Global Tea Market Overview
Tea, a cherished drink steeped in history and tradition, has always been a universal symbol of hospitality, offering a myriad of flavors and health benefits. In 2021, the global tea market demonstrated its enduring appeal, accounting for a significant share of the hot drinks market, with revenue reaching a substantial US$ 207.1 billion. Notably, tea held a 33% share of the total hot drinks segment, with coffee taking the lion's share at 65%, and cocoa, the third player in this category, contributed a modest 3%.
A closer look at the statistics reveals an impressive growth trajectory. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the period of 2020-2025 for the global hot drinks market stood at an impressive 9.4%. Furthermore, tea's global revenue is expected to continue its ascent, increasing at a CAGR of 5.0% from 2022 to 2025. Volume sales, indicating the sheer volume of tea consumed globally, rose to 6.6 billion kilograms in 2021, experiencing a steady CAGR increase of 3.2% (2012-2025). This trajectory is projected to persist, with worldwide tea sales growing at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2021 to 2025.
Another intriguing insight from the data is the shift in consumption location. In 2021, 50% of tea spending was directed towards at-home consumption, reflecting the changing lifestyles and preferences of consumers. This shift has been further accelerated by the global events of recent years, which have underscored the importance of adaptable consumption patterns.
The European Tea Market Trends
Turning the attention to Europe, we find that tea continues to be a cherished beverage, with Turkey emerging as the leading European country in terms of revenue in the tea segment. The United Kingdom, Russia, the Netherlands, and France followed suit, highlighting tea's popularity across the continent.
European tea sales are poised for steady growth, projected to increase at a CAGR of 1.2% from 2012 to 2025. This data underscores the enduring appeal of tea in European markets, with consumers appreciating its versatility and diverse flavour profiles.
The European tea market reflects broader global trends in the beverage industry. While traditional black and green tea markets have matured, newer products like yerba mate and herbal tea have seen significant surges in sales. These innovative tea options cater to consumers' desires for unique taste experiences. Moreover, Europe's evolving tea landscape mirrors the broader consumer sentiment toward health and well-being. For instance, in a 2022 Global Data consumer survey, 61% of Belgian respondents expressed that health and well-being significantly influenced their purchase decisions. This growing trend underscores the importance of aligning products and services with consumers' health concerns.
The Belgian Tea Market: A Closer Look
According to Euromonitor International's February 2023 report, in 2022 the consumer food service displayed resilience and growth despite the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (negative CAGR of -5.4% during 2016-2021). This trend mirrored the broader European context, where the food service industry adapted to evolving consumer preferences, habits, and health concerns. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the industry will fully recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2027, partly due to inflation impacting disposable incomes and challenges such as staff shortages, reduced operating hours, and supply chain disruptions.
Belgium's café and bar scene witnessed a 15% increase in food service value sales, reaching 1.2 billion EUR in 2022, despite the outlet numbers having decreased by 1%. Belgian consumers displayed a growing appreciation for specialty and branded hot beverages, emphasizing the importance of quality, premium products, and unique experiences, hence, the sector is expecting to lead growth.
During the years 2021 to 2026, all segments within the market are expected to see growth in their value, as consumer confidence returns to normal, Belgians will begin indulging in discretionary expenditure more frequently. The positive CAGR and expected growth for the coffee and tea shop segment are the following: sales at 11.5%; number of outlets at 0.6%; number of transactions at 8.8%; and buying volume growth of profit channels at 7.5%.
Additionally, the growth of specialist tea shops, exemplified by the entry of Gong Cha, a Taiwanese bubble tea chain, into the Belgian market, is poised to shape the beverage landscape further. Gong Cha's expansion targets a younger audience and is set to challenge existing players like Starbucks in the specialist coffee and tea shop segment. Starbucks’ outlet count rose from 25 in 2018 to 32 in 2021, hence, in coffee and tea shop channels, growth in outlet numbers during 2021–2026 is expected to be driven by investments from global chains.
However, independent operators dominated the coffee and tea shop channels in 2021. Coffee and tea shop value in 2021 consisted of independent operators making it 255 million EUR (value growth CAGR 2021 - 2016 anticipated to be at 11.3%) and 79 million EUR consisting of chains (CAGR 12.2%).
In conclusion, the global, European, and Belgian tea markets continue to evolve in response to changing consumer preferences and lifestyles. Tea remains a beloved beverage, with innovative products and health-conscious choices gaining popularity. As consumers seek convenience, quality, and unique experiences, the tea industry continues to adapt, ensuring its enduring appeal in the years to come.
Belgium - The Future of Foodservice to 2026. July 2022. Global Data.
Consumer Foodservice in Belgium. February 2023. Euromonitor International.
Yangdi Lu. Tea Report 2022: Consumer Market Outlook. January 2022. Statista.