Green tea and its powder variant, matcha, have traditionally been used for food and non-alcoholic beverages. However, following a boom in popularity for its antioxidant and medicinal properties, the ingredient has found more unconventional homes within the personal care and alcoholic drinks sectors. This cross-sector use reflects the ingredients versatility and wide appeal among consumers. According to GlobalData’s Q2 2021 consumer survey, nearly two thirds (63%) of people globally believe that green tea or matcha will have a positive impact on their health.

Like all teas, green tea is made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. While black tea is made by oxidising the leaves, imparting a darker colour and more intense flavour, green tea leaves are processed to prevent oxidation, making them much lighter in colour. Matcha is a form of green tea that is ground into a fine powder, yielding higher concentrations of nutrients.

Recognising the ingredients’ popularity, the cream liqueur brand Tia Maria has recently collaborated with UK singer-songwriter, Becky Hill, to promote its Japanese variant Tia Maria Matcha. The partnership sees the brand leverage both star power and the trending popularity of matcha to revitalise interest in time for the seasonal holidays. Created with natural Japanese green matcha tea extract, Tia Maria Matcha provides a natural caffeine and floral twist on the creamy liqueur while adding excitement to the brand and targeting contemporary drinks. Tapping into the mindfulness associated with matcha culture, the marketing campaign emphasises authenticity and creativity to engage with its audience.

Similarly, Harpoon Brewery and US coffee chain Dunkin’ introduced Dunkin’ Blueberry Matcha IPA earlier this year, inspired by Dunkin’s Blueberry Matcha Latte. It is brewed with blueberries, matcha and a blend of traditional and modern hops to create a tea-like and tropical beer, tying into experimental trends that initially helped to popularise the ingredient.

Where the alcohol sector highlights the potential of the ingredients for indulgent, sensory, and experimental flavour profiles, the personal care market focuses on added functionality and health benefits. Journ’s Matcha Color Corrector in the US utilises the natural green pigments to full effect to address skin redness and blemishes. It also promotes matcha’s anti-inflammatory properties from caffeine and Vitamin A & C that can help dry out spots. The product is formulated with hibiscus and seaweed to help control breakouts, regulate sebum and reverse the signs of skin damage.

The merits of natural formulations have been valued by consumers across all product categories, but the beauty space has adopted it as a key principle dubbed ‘Clean Beauty’. This trend sees consumers strive to make safer and more sustainable purchasing choices. Given the purported health benefits of green tea, it has become a highly sought-after natural ingredient in personal care. Around two-thirds (66%) of consumers consider tea or tea extract to be appealing in a beauty or grooming product while matcha (finely ground green tea) is somewhat/very appealing to almost half (47%) of consumers.

Green tea and matcha continue to hold a promising position across FMCG sectors. However, it is important to understand the varying needs of each sector and utilise the ingredient to meet them. Manufacturers can create a unique brand experience by highlighting the ingredients medicinal, functional and sensory properties via a personalised, targeted approach, which will help to create brand staying power.

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