Why is milk tea getting more and more serious?

Milk tea is declining, and fruit tea is in power.

New-style tea drinks are focusing on niche fruits.

The New Retail Business Review found that many new tea brands have launched new tea products with yellow peel as the main raw material.

In June of this year, Hey Tea took the lead in launching two yellow-skin drinks, made from fresh yellow-squeezed fruits, and the packaging was marked with “the first serving is fresh and the fine products are dry”.

Under the combined effect of the brand influence of Hey Tea and the curiosity of consumers, Huangpi, a typical southern niche fruit produced in Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi and other places, has quickly become a star tea popular in the north and south of China. Drink the protagonist.

On the one hand, a number of new tea brands have launched their own yellow tea drinks in a swarm. On the other hand, on platforms such as “Wei Shake Fast Red B”, many sketches and short stories about yellow tea have appeared. video.

Nowadays, using niche fruits to launch innovative drinks, and using the curiosity of consumers in the north and south to create social topics, and then to create explosive single products, seems to have become a common innovation path for new tea brands.

From perfume lemons, spring oranges, rose long melons, to oil oranges and yellow peels, these fruits that were only seen in specific planting areas in the past are paired with different teas, and then they are put on or refreshed or refreshed. The name of the trend can attract a lot of attention and hot discussion once it is launched.

However, under the hustle and bustle, people can’t help but worry about it-firstly, new tea brands get together to push new products, resulting in serious homogeneity. Consumers can really tell which oil stick lemonade is sweeter, and hand-made yellow peel juice is better. Quench your thirst?

Secondly, looking at the world, how many niche fruits can be used by these tea brands? In other words, can the innovative model of relying on niche fruits to push new products last?

 The price of a niche 

Almost every niche fruit drink can always bring good market performance.

In May of this year, Naxue’s tea- related person in charge once revealed that the sales of domineering jade oil oranges accounted for more than 20% of Naxue’s tea drink products, which jumped to TOP1 in product sales, surpassing the domineering cheese strawberry, which is the top sales ranking of the year;

On June 25, the three yellow skin drinks launched by Hey Tea sold nearly 60,000 cups within three days of the launch. As of the beginning of July, they sold more than 300,000 cups across the country.

This series of new actions directly pushed up the price of niche fruits. Take oil tangerines as an example. The price has gone from less than 2 yuan to 40 yuan per catty. The price per catty has soared from less than 2 yuan to 40 yuan, and there is even a situation in which demand exceeds supply.

The original intention of new tea brands to choose niche fruits to develop new products is to pursue differentiation. However, although it is a niche fruit, it is only because it is popular in the production area that the people who know it are limited. It is not that the fruit production is scarce. In addition, the threshold for research and development of new tea products is not very high, which has triggered a lot of tea brands to follow suit. .

In other words, the use of niche fruits for innovation has accelerated the homogenization competition among new tea brands. Not only that, if you want to successfully launch a new niche fruit tea, new tea brands need to pay no small price.

First of all, niche fruits have higher requirements on the supply chain. Take the yellow skin as an example. The main reason why it has not been out of the Guangdong and Guangxi regions is its thin skin, inconvenient transportation, and short shelf life.

Hey Tea once stated that in order to ensure the freshness of the yellow peel and the taste of tea, not only the whole process of cold chain transportation is required, but also all the yellow peels must be brought into the store with branches and leaves, and the length of the branches should be kept at 2~3cm, which avoids this. The branches are too short and too sharp to pierce the flesh and prevent damage to the pedicle. Down from the store to pick making use of the whole programmable system within 72 hours.

Why is milk tea getting more and more serious?

It is not just yellow peels. Since the previous circulation was limited to the surrounding areas of the planting area, niche fruits usually did not have mature suppliers and logistics transportation systems that could cover the whole country. Therefore, capable tea brands such as Hey Tea can only choose direct Settled in the orchard and “locked quantity procurement” based on store sales data to ensure the quality of raw materials.

In addition to paying a lot of real money in the supply chain, new tea brands must also consider how to transform niche or limited fruit drinks from online celebrities into growing celebrities.

Take Xicha’s flagship product “Succulent Grapes” as an example. Originally named “Zhizhi Black Tea”, it used South African seedless black tea, but after the season, Hey Tea took the initiative to remove this drink.

Subsequently, after a large number of varieties screening, taste testing and other research and development work, Hey Tea chose the current season Kyoho grape instead of South African black grape, and changed its name to “Succulent Grape”.

After this, every kind of grapes and Hey Cha will be tested repeatedly, and even the original production process and methods will be changed due to the different grape varieties.

In other words, only relying on repeated tests and experiments can finally be presented to consumers in a cup of tea with stable quality.

The sales figures are sufficient to show that all the hard work that Hey Tea has done for grapes is worth it. According to media reports, the daily sales volume of succulent grapes is as high as 100,000 cups, and the order volume is as high as 17%. At its peak, “for every 2 cups of Hey Tea sold, there is 1 cup of succulent grapes.”

Why is milk tea getting more and more serious?

The succulent grapes of Hey Tea, source: Hey Tea official micro

However, nowadays popular fruits such as tangerine and yellow peel have strong seasonal attributes, and it is difficult to supply them all year round like grapes. This also means that such drinks do not have the “gene” to become Changhong products. At this time, new tea brands need to straighten out the complementary relationship between seasonal drinks and classic products.

Guo Sihan, deputy general manager of Lelecha, told New Retail Business Review: “The positioning of seasonal items is usually to attract traffic while maintaining the richness of the product line.”

According to reports, Lele Tea will continue to optimize its products through the elimination of single product sales—eliminating seasonal single products with general market response; if new products still have outstanding performance under this elimination mechanism, it can be called It is a staged explosive product; afterwards, Lele Tea will continue to optimize and iterate on the staged explosive product and slowly turn it into a classic product.

For those beverages with strong seasonal attributes and good market response, they are usually re-launched in fixed seasons each year after optimization and upgrade. For example, the bucket tea that Lele tea just launched was launched in 2017 because of comparison. It is suitable for drinking in summer, so it will be fixed on sale in summer.

From this point of view, whether it is a niche fruit drink with limited seasons or a classic product, the tea brand needs continuous research and development, experimentation and innovation behind it.

However, after experiencing the “battle” of niche fruits, some consumers seem to come back to their senses: can such a drink be related to “tea”?

 Fruit tea in power 

At the beginning of the establishment of many new-style tea brands, they have stated that they must use innovative methods to promote traditional Chinese tea culture to young people, so that more people can feel the charm of tea culture.

However, with the passing of time, the “milk tea” that was once popular all over China can no longer accurately describe today’s new tea. Nowadays, milk and tea have become supporting roles, and it is the fruit that sits at the top of the new-style tea drinking.

According to the “2021 China New Tea Drinks Product Report”, among the 21 tea brands sampled, up to 95.2% of the new fruit tea brands in 2020.

A cup of tea is usually composed of a tea base and auxiliary materials (fruits, milk caps, desserts, snacks, etc.). The tea base contains caffeine, and the sugar in the auxiliary materials can make people feel pleasant. The superposition of the two enhances the “addiction” effect of tea-and this is the basis for the continuous development of current tea.

According to the report of the Prospective Industry Research Institute, in 2019, the number of consumers of new-style tea drinks in my country was about 305 million, and the penetration rate reached 21.8%, which was about double that of 2017; the penetration rate is expected to reach 25.9% in 2021.

According to the data from Insight Consulting, the scale of the current tea industry has increased from 42.2 billion yuan in 2015 to 106.3 billion yuan in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 26%. By 2025, the scale of the industry is expected to reach 340 billion yuan.

Obviously, “addiction” is one of the important factors supporting the huge market data.

However, there are many tea ingredients to choose from. Why is it that fruit tea is now in the lead?

The reason is not hard to guess. First of all, fruits are not only rich in variety, but also have natural seasonal attributes , which are in line with people’s expectations for seasonal rotation; at the same time, fruits are very “universal” and can be well integrated with milk or tea in terms of taste and shape.

In addition, the reason why the fruit can “outlook” other ingredients is also because of its appearance .

The value of the face is in charge, and tea can not be avoided. The first intuitive feeling for young consumers to choose new tea drinks is the appearance. In this regard, fruits can obviously enhance the appearance of the drink; and more importantly, under the background that everything can be “sunlighted”, a cup of appearance Online drinks can also effectively drive the spread of products and brands on social networks.

Why is milk tea getting more and more serious?

Lele Tea and OATLY co-branded drink “Earth Buttermilk”, source: Lele Tea official website

At the same time, fruits also make tea upgrades more intuitive . With the continuous development of the tea-drinking track, the upgrading of new tea-drinking products will inevitably be reflected in various aspects such as appearance, taste, and materials.

However, when the tea culture is not popular, consumers, especially the younger generation, do not have that strong perception of whether tea is good or not; the more intuitive experience actually comes from fruit.

For example, a cup of tea made from 20 cherries should sell for a higher price than a drink made from 20 grapes. Use the judgment of the type and grade of the fruit.

In contrast, the tricks that milk and tea can play are very limited, and they are also prone to the risk of “rolling over”.

Prior to this, Hey Tea launched the “Zhizhi Snow Mountain Broken Silver ” with high-end tea as its selling point . The so-called “broken silver” is a kind of Pu’er tea, and the price is as high as 2,000 yuan per catty.

However, the product did not receive the expected praise. Instead, many consumers complained that the original light taste of the tea was destroyed after adding sugar, and it was not suitable as a raw material for milk tea.

At present, new-style tea drink brands have basically formed a product form based on “classic hot items + regular new products + cross-industry joint names”. Classic hot items are the basis for sales, and the role of regular new and cross-border products is to attract Repurchase and maintain brand popularity.

However, as discussed above, both classic single products and limited new products need to be supported by strong product research and development capabilities.

It is understood that Hey Tea will collect consumer feedback from the outside as support for product selection and product research and development; the research and development cycle of each new product is no less than 3 months.

In the first half of this year, Lele Tea launched more than 40 new products. Guo Sihan revealed the three product development logic of Lele Tea to the new retail business review .

One is to continue to pay attention to new raw materials and to research and develop the first raw materials in the industry. For example, food-grade hyaluronic acid, collagen bars, phycocyanin, etc. are applied to beverages.

The second is to seek breakthroughs around the product itself. Continue to make changes to the product form to stimulate consumers’ desire to buy, such as desserts and drinks, and co-branded with Menglong to make ice cream that can be sucked and eaten.

The third is to integrate from a cultural perspective. For example, when it opened a store in Tianjin, Lele Tea co-branded the time-honored Guifaxiang Eighteenth Street Twist and launched a limited European package; in conjunction with Bright, it launched iced tea and cultural peripheral products.

In the face of increasingly serious homogeneity, Guo Sihan said frankly: “The industry is still in the early stage of development. Some brands choose to seize market share first, rather than becoming a brand. But in the long run, it is in this competition to continuously improve brand influence. Dao is an important means to establish barriers to competition , and the core of a brand is product innovation capabilities, and products are also the foundation for the existence of a brand. Only by continuously improving product innovation capabilities and supply chain capabilities are the key factors for creating differentiation.”

Concluding remarks

Although marketing is important, it cannot last without product blessing. For new-style tea brands, in addition to competing with soft power such as packaging design and store environment, it also tests the hard power of each product research and development.

After all, for consumers, good taste is king. Without good products, the brand cannot be supported. Only by continuously outputting rich and high-quality products can we be invincible in the industry.


1. “From a multi-dimensional perspective on the growth space of tea, brand and supply chain create leading barriers to competition”, GF Securities

2. “2021 China New Tea Drinks Product Report”, Kamen Drinking Power Academy

3. “The fire of oil citrus tea has reached the bottled beverage circle”, interface news

4. “New tea drinks intensified in volume | Naxue’s rush to go public, Michelle is busy brainwashing”, marketing Yuzijiang

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