Study shows branding is not important for iced tea, which makes sales all the more dependent on using the right descriptive words on the menu.

Over the last decade, the popularity of tea has skyrocketed, and menu penetration has reached more than 47 percent in quick serves, according to Datassential research. Yet despite the beverage’s ubiquity, many iced tea programs still have room for improvement.

[For more insight into what customers want from a tea program and how operators can more effectively market the beverage, watch the webinar replay.]

In a recent webinar, John Buckner, vice president of marketing for S&D Coffee and Tea shared the results of a study conducted by the company in partnership Datassential that explains how consumer perceptions impact tea programs.

Buckner noted in the webinar that unlike sodas where brand is especially important to consumers, tea brand is not as important to consumers. This means that as restaurants menu their unique teas, it is important to use the right brand messaging to attract consumer attention.

Participants in the study were asked what would be the most impactful attributes in a consumer’s decision to drink tea, and though several factors were named, respondents said that whether the tea was called “fresh brewed” or not was the most important attribute influencing their beverage decisions.

In addition to being named the most important term, respondents also said that if iced tea was not fresh brewed, more than half of the study’s participants either chose a different beverage or ordered no beverage at all.

Buckner stated that to be called “fresh brewed,” tea must actually be made in house the same day it is served, but that message must be communicated to customers to have an impact. Other terms such as “natural,” “handcrafted,” and “artisan” were also important descriptors mentioned in the study and may have positive effects on consumer perception.

By offering fresh brewed tea and using the right descriptors to advertise a tea program, operators can drive more iced tea sales. With the large profit margin iced tea provides, restaurants cannot afford to lose sales by neglecting to use the right marketing messages.

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