When it comes to wellness and health, look no further than the Japanese to bring the most unique offerings to the table. Matcha, a variant of green tea with its roots in ancient Japan, is chock full of antioxidants, catechins, polyphenols, and other beneficial health-boosting compounds. According to a new study by Future Market Insights, consumer demand for matcha is anticipated to experience a meteoric rise, aided by the favourable outlook of the popularity of green tea even among non-tea drinkers globally.
Japanese cuisines have already witnessed a resurgence in the markets of U.S. and Europe with products such as soba, miso soup, tofu, and green tea gaining popularity for being healthy and offering functional benefits. Matcha helps in detoxifying the body, fortifies the immune system, helps in regulating cholesterol level, and offers a host of other unique benefits normally limited in traditional green tea. Compared to conventional brewed or infused tea, the whole tea leaf is milled to produce a fine, potent powder which results in a robust nutritional profile.
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The versatility of matcha has resulted in an entire ecosystem of matcha-based products, from its use as an ingredient in baked goods, desserts and ice cream, smoothies, juices, and in personal care products such as masks, face cleansers, skin creams, wipes, among others. Included in the matcha product ecosystem are also accessories such as bamboo whisks (traditionally called chasen in Japan), scoops, sifters, ceramic bowls, and other products typically sold as part of gift sets.
Spurious Matcha Blends Taking the Sheen Away from the Market
Matcha is a premium product which carries a hefty price tag compared to conventional green tea. However, subpar matcha claiming to offer equivalent health benefits have also entered the market. Below average matcha is easily distinguished due to its duller hue and grainier texture. These are typically produced from the tougher leaves and the resulting taste is bitter and astringent. Matcha cultivated in China is also considerably different from matcha with origins in Japan owing to the differences in climate, soil, and the traditional methods used in processing post-harvest. Studies have also shown that matcha, much like green tea, is also susceptible to contamination from lead.
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There is also a limited emphasis on product labelling and safety, due to which the incidence of false health claims to enhance the marketability of products has increased significantly. These factors have impacted consumer outlook towards matcha, thereby adversely affecting the growth to a certain extent. Despite these, the global market for matcha is expected to gain significant momentum and register a growth of 10.0% in terms of value between 2018 and 2028.
Converging Consumer Attention Towards Premium Products and Health to Drive Organic Matcha Sales
The increasing propensity of consumers to spend on organic products has played well in matcha’s favour, resulting in a projected growth of organic certified matcha by 12.3% in revenue terms over the forecast period. “Consumers associate the organic certification with something much more than a price premium over conventional offerings – they acknowledge that the product is not contaminated with pesticides, chemicals, or other additives used during cultivation or processing, developing a perception that relates well with matcha’s functional health benefits,” states FMI in its report.
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Bullish Outlook for the Tea Industry Complementing Global Demand for Matcha
Tea happens to be one of the most widely consumed beverages globally, and the tailwinds from the growth in this category are expected to enhance consumer appetite for matcha. Suppliers have been quick to tap into the demand, focusing on developing unique formats that appeal to a wider audience. Companies such as B Sweet Coffee and Tea has combined multiple beverage industry trends in developing a unique nitrogenated, cold brew RTD matcha tea in a can. Such innovations are starting to pick up steam, the impact of which is likely to sustain the growth of the matcha market for several years to come.