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    Tea Market Grows Despite Tough Economy

    The U.S. market for tea sold at retail will reach $6.5 billion this year, up 5.2 percent over 2010.

    NEW YORK -- The U.S. market for tea sold at retail has expanded and will reach $6.5 billion in 2011, an increase of 5.2 percent over 2010, according to Packaged Facts' new "Tea and Ready-to-Drink Tea in the U.S" report.

    According to the report, supermarkets are the top venue for leaf and ready-to-drink tea, with strong sales also occurring at convenience stores and natural food stores, the second of which has shown double-digit growth in canned and bottle tea sales.

    Black tea is the most popular type, followed by green tea, herbal tea, fruit/spice-flavored tea and decaffeinated tea. Specialized teas such as chai and white tea have been sampled by at least 10 percent of tea drinkers and are getting more attention along with oolong, rooibos and mate tea.

    The report also states that Fair Trade USA-certified tea sales increased 38 percent in the last year. One factor may be that Honest Tea, which is owned by Coca-Cola Co., announced in October 2010 that it would convert its entire 28-tea line to Fair Trade Certification.

    Additionally, tea has joined coffee in profiting from Green Mountain Coffee Roaster's Keurig single-cup brewing system. Celestial Seasoning's Brew Over Ice leads the K-Cup market, and Starbuck's Tazo K-Cup tea is also an important entrant in the market, according to the report.

    The full report is available for purchase on Packaged Facts' website.

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