Health trend: Tea and infusions
At the recentconference, Technomic Inc. executive vice president Darren Tristano noted that health descriptors are becoming more widespread on drink menus. Green tea, touted for its antioxidant qualities, is benefiting from the trend. This unfermented tea, once found only in Chinese and Japanese restaurants and specialty shops in the United States, now accounts for 15 percent of tea consumption in the country, according to The Tea Association of the USA.
Several chains are tapping into the trend. Sonic Drive-In introduced green tea earlier this year, and at MUFSO, McAlister’s Deli chief executive Frank Paci said the 312-unit chain was introducing it at certain locations.
Sweetgreen, a 20-unit salad and frozen yogurt chain based in Washington, D.C., has introduced a Cranberry Ginger Green Tea for the fall, priced at $2.50.
Cowboy Chicken, an eight-unit chain based in Dallas, is offering an iced Blackberry Tea this fall, sold by the cup for $1.79 and by the gallon for $4.99.
For people avoiding caffeine, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf recently introduced a low-caffeine Blue Tiger Herbal Infusion suitable for children. The infusion blends lemon myrtle, malva flower, tea blossoms and raspberry flavoring, and was launched in conjunction with Coffee Bean director of tea David DeCandia’s children’s book, “Master Davey and the Magical Tea House.” The tea is being sold at select locations and online at Amazon.com, priced at $9.95 for a tin of 20 bags.