Art of Tea Academy

Attracting the Millennial Tea Consumer

By Art of Tea on Nov 7, 2018 9:10:00 AM |


The exact date span of millennials depends on who’s polling, but generally includes those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Their population is reported to rival that of baby boomers; by some estimates approximately 80 million Americans — about a million more than baby boomers. Currently, there are over 6.2 million millennials, aged 18–34, with annual household incomes over $100,000. While they account for less than 10 percent of the 18–34-year-old population, they hold a huge influence over the entire millennial generation, in both dollars and impact.

Millennials are frequently dubbed the “foodie generation” and are rewriting the food industry. In fact, 50% of all millennials refer to themselves as “foodies.” An equation that once allowed consumers to perceive food value based on taste, convenience, and price, is now more complex; flavor adventures, uniqueness, authenticity, innovation, convenience, portion size, nutrition, packaging, transparency, price, conscious capitalism practices that translate into a purpose, and supply chain management, are among the many factors millennials consider in the new value equation for food and beverages. Millennials are much more willing than boomers to pay for fresh and healthy food, as well as specific attributes such as organic, natural, ethnic or specialty foods, and are willing to go to great lengths to find it. Millennials are aligned with the “food movement” and appreciate things like small batch and artisanal foods. Millennials are also extremely invested in eating healthier and living a more active lifestyle. As health trends continue to evolve in our market, Millennials will be the demographic leading those changes.

Millennials look for brands that provide exploration and experiences. Millennials are actually collectors of experiences. They approach life as an opportunity to collage different experiences to help form their own identity based on their personal passions and interests. When it comes to food, they are looking for new flavor adventures. Although they value authenticity above almost all else, they are also not necessarily staunch purists about form and function, having a soft spot for ethnic mash-ups, which combine authentic elements of two or more ethnic cuisines in familiar, accessible formats.

Millennials have become increasingly more interested in tea as they have gotten older. According to Statista Charts/YouGov, when given the option between coffee and tea, millennials are more apt to choose tea than any other age group. However, the important factors millennials use to choose where they purchase their tea is different than that of the average tea consumer, according to a 2015 Nielsen tea survey. The top five important deciding factors include:

  1. Flavor Profile
  2. Tea Type
  3. Price
  4. Made from Only Natural Ingredients
  5. Organic

Millennials haven’t fully developed their drinking habits and are primed to become return customers of your establishment if you can deliver on all aspects of what they want in tea. Conversely, with their connectedness with others through social media, a failed attempt, can spell disaster to your establishment. Below are some key factors to consider when attempting to capture the millennial consumer.

Choose the Right Tea Supplier:

Partnering with an experienced quality specialty tea company is critical. They can help you navigate the world of tea to develop a program that delivers on taste (flavor), but not compete with the meal. They can help you formulate the story behind each tea, offering the “foodie” experience millennials are eager to have.

Make It Unique to Your Restaurant:

Tea can be more than just a hot or cold beverage you serve. Your chefs can use tea to make unique dishes. Your mixologists can use tea as a bar mixer to make specialty drinks. Working with your tea partner, you can develop a tea menu that pairs your dishes with their teas to offer a more impactful flavor experience.

Ensure Your Message is Truthful:

Millennials can see through false or stretched marketing. Make sure your message is on point and addresses what millennials are in search of: flavor adventures, uniqueness, authenticity, innovation, nutrition, transparency, and conscious capitalism practices that translate into purpose. Tea is already poised to hit many of these attributes. Coupled with your restaurant’s vision and mission, your message can easily speak to the millennial consumer.

Millennial consumers today can make or break the success of most food service establishments. Taking the time to formulate a quality iced and hot tea program, can insure your guests start, and end their experience in your restaurant on a positive note.

Art of Tea is an award winning purveyor of specialty and organic teas, based in Los Angeles, CA.

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