The popularity of herbal infusions or tisanes, like Rooibos, has surged in the last few years with more consumers drinking loose leaf, bagged, ready-to-drink, and flavoured tisanes.
In 2021, South Africans consumed more than 70 million cups of herbal tea – 5.7% up from 2020, with no signs of decline.
Analysts say tisanes will probably record the second-highest growth of all tea categories, with an annual growth rate of 12.7% in the 2022 to 2026 forecast period.
Tisanes are caffeine-free and can be served hot or cold. Herbal teas have a long history, dating back to ancient China and Egypt, where tisanes were drunk for enjoyment and medicinal purposes.
As a result of their nutritional benefits and extensive flavour selection, tisanes are also gaining market share in the kids’ beverage industry. Tisanes are no longer solely for adults, according to Nicie Vorster, a director of the SA Rooibos Council (Sarc), since fast and ready-to-drink tisanes are paving the way for a strong standing among families, kids, and teenagers.
Parents looking for low-sugar, antioxidant-rich beverages for their children will find that herbal tisanes meet legitimate demand.
Tisanes are popular because they are devoid of caffeine and calories.
Prior to parents becoming more aware of the high levels of sugar in the foods and beverages their children consumed, including the high levels of natural sugar in fruit juices, juice was once thought to be the gold standard for healthy children’s beverages.
However, as more parents became aware of this, many of them began to dilute the juice with water. There is a high demand and opportunity for healthier kids’ beverages, and some producers have reacted with products that combine juice and water. Unfortunately, these products haven’t taken off due to flavour issues and nutrient deficiencies .
He says plain herbal tea might not be appetising to certain children who are used to a sweeter flavour profile, but sweetening it with the preferred fruit juice is a perfect substitute for 100% juices or juice-and-water mixtures.
In this method, the sugar is reduced yet the antioxidants are preserved. Teenagers who enjoy experimenting can start with tisanes as a basis and then add natural sweeteners, fruit, herbs, and spices to taste.
Eight out of 10 parents claim that their decision about a product is influenced by how it will impact the health and well-being of their child, according to a global consumer survey done by Global Data.
“While a sweet beverage once in a while is acceptable, it shouldn’t be the norm, especially given South Africa’s high obesity rates among adults and children alike.”
According to the SA National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, children of 6 to 14 years old, had a combined prevalence of overweight and obesity of 13.5%, which is greater than the 10% prevalence among schoolchildren worldwide.
Frequent intake of carbonated and sports drinks raises children’s risk of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and tooth decay in addition to obesity.
“Children need to be guided toward more balanced options for their overall health,” Vorster said.
He says the use of functional ingredients — foods that provide health advantages in addition to their nutritional value – will be crucial for fostering innovation in the kids’ market. “Herbal infusions also offer health benefits that create product differentiation.”
Scientists believe that Rooibos is a rich source of polyphenols because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, which provide a wide range of health advantages. From the root to the fruit, polyphenols are a superfamily of different chemicals contained in plants. These chemicals are notably abundant in Rooibos.
It has been proven that consuming Rooibos regularly can increase immunity, lower cholesterol and heart disease risk, and fight inflammation, which is the main cause of cancer. Rooibos is beneficial for the brain, helpful at regulating blood sugar, calming digestion and allergies, reducing stress and anxiety, and all of these things.
Rooibos is popular with kids on its own and it is naturally sweet, so adding additional sweeteners is rarely necessary, which promotes good health.