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World of Tea Expo Blends Fresh Ideas and Information with Business Strategies for Restaurateurs

This sponsored content was provided by the World Tea Expo

Tea may be thousands of years old and range from the South’s sugary sweet tea to vinegary kombucha, but it’s experiencing a renaissance of sorts, especially for the restaurant industry. It is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, next to water, and specialty tea sales continue to climb after growing to $11 billion through 2018.

“Tea consumption is growing with millennials,” says Shelley Perkins of the World of Tea Expo. “About 87 percent of millennials drink tea in some form.”

The most popular way by far to drink tea in the U.S. is iced, with black tea accounting for 86 percent of sales and green tea 13 percent. Iced tea alone accounts for 8 percent of sales for cold beverages in foodservice for roughly $9.6 billion, according to research firm, Technomic’s 2017 Away-From-Home Beverage Study.

Hot tea, however, is also having its day in the sun: hot tea sales have increased more than 15 percent over the last five years, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.

And even more important to note for restaurant owners is that “tea is the most profitable item on the menu,” Perkins says.

Tea’s versatility is one of the reasons it’s so popular with both foodservice operators and customers. It can be refreshing, calming and have medicinal properties. Natural tea sales are up more than 6 percent and specialty/wellness tea sales have increased more than 3 percent. And bottled or canned tea is also rapidly gaining sales momentum in both restaurants and for takeout.

Tea comes as a powder, bagged, loose leaf, flavored, fermented, in ready-to-drink bottles—the list goes on. Tea can be served in a dainty flowered cup or sturdy mug hot or in a tall glass cold. It can serve as a base in cocktails and added as a unique flavoring in entrées and desserts. Creative chefs have gone up and beyond the ubiquitous green tea ice cream to substitute tea for stock, baking it in cookies, using it as a rub for meats and vegetables or incorporating it into specialty treats like marshmallows and chocolates.

With so much to offer, it’s not surprising tea qualifies for its own expo.

The World Tea Expo, with the intent of “advancing the business tea,” kicks off in Las Vegas June 10 with the education and runs through June 13 at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s south hall. Now in its 17th year, the event hosts more than 250 tea-related vendors, ranging from new product and equipment, tea tastings, specialty tea sellers, a Global Tea Championship contest and more than 100 hours of education including full day workshops with tea industry experts. The entire tea experience will be on a special events stage from a kombucha tea pavilion to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

“There’s a significant focus on countries of origin,” Perkins says about the tea vendors, “where attendees can taste teas from around the world.” Teas from more than 61 countries were displayed in 2018 with even more expected this year. Because restaurateurs are always looking for something new to distinguish themselves from the competition, a space on the exhibit floor is dedicated to new tea companies.

But what distinguishes the World Tea Expo from other food expos is the quality of its educational offerings. Sessions vary from how to buy tea, how to make the most of your purchases and how to structure a tea program at your restaurant to increase profits.

The registration fee for a Full Conference Pass is $395, which includes entry into the exhibit hall and all conference sessions. Foodservice News readers can enter the code FULCON2 on the registration form and save $50. Exhibit Hall entry is just $45.

For more information and to register, go to worldteaexpo.com/register.

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