What makes tea business successful and profitable in a country that has never has strong ties to this beverage is the increasing diversity of teas available and a great offer of specialties, as well as the combination of wellness trend with the growing health consciousness of consumers. Today German tea market shows significant signs of growth and development, and the emergence of new successful brands are evidence. The leading market company is Ostfriesische Teegesellschaft which represents about 30% of market share, with sales accounting for nearly $340 million as of 2004 including private labels production.
The company's own leading product range, Messmer, is growing currently twofold, while the two other two brands of OTG, Onno Behrends and Milford are also recognized as important players on German tea market. Ostfriesische Teegeselschaft is a subsidiary of the Laurens Spethmann Holding owning production sites in the United Kingdom, France and Austria and operating a network of business links in over 50 countries worldwide.
Since health aspects play an extremely important role in the modern world, tea has been among the profiteers of the trend.
Recent scientific studies are evidence that the consumption of green and black teas exert beneficial impacts on the human health and well-being. In addition, tea is a calories-free drink if consumed without any ingredients, and hence, the ideal beverage for everyone caring for his slim line.
The number one choice of tea drinkers in Germany are all variations of black teas, accounting for 80% share on German tea market and leaving the rest for green tea. As far as the latter is concerned, its popularity is increasing gradually, with 1% increase in share compared to the previous year. Despite the fact that fruit and herbal teas are still insignificant in volume, they are booming, as more taste innovations and new products are rejuvenating German tea market.
The majority of German tea consumers give preference to loose leaf teas, which make approximately 60% of the total amount sold. Surprisingly, organically grown tea cannot increase its market share of 2% of total sales, regardless of the public opinion concerning biological food and its health benefits.
The most important channels for tea sales are food stores, accounting for nearly 44% and followed by supermarkets and discounters that make up for 17.4% more. Some 17.2% of the total volume is sold in specialty tea shops, 11.8% by small retailers and 4.3% via mail orders. The most important supplier is India, which exported some 7,600 tons or nearly 13% of the total volume.
The second place is shared by China and Indonesia with another 12% each, while other important suppliers include Sri Lanka (9.4%) and Africa (6.3%). Over 25 tons of German imports were re-exported to such EU countries as the United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, France and the Netherlands. Many predict Germany will become the largest tea drinking national in Europe within a few years.
As of 2001, it imported some 40,000 tons of tea. The teas shops sold nearly 2,800 tons, while mail order companies and wholesale trade account for 900 tons each.