Cold brew and kombucha are taking over

By Kate Welsh
Updated May 18, 2018
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If you are between the ages of 18 and 34, pause for a second and consider the last time you bought iced tea. It's been awhile, hasn't it? A recent study by YouGov BrandIndex showed that only 18% of millennials would consider buying an iced tea next time they want a beverage—that's down five points from the same study in January of 2016.

This is part of larger trend away from bottled iced tea. Millennials have reported having a "negative impression" of longstanding brands like Lipton, Nestea, Crystal Light, and Snapple. The only iced tea brand whose reputation has remained steady is Arizona.

While there hasn't been a negative event researchers can point to that may have impacted millennials' impressions of these brands, BrandIndex seems to believe that this is part of a larger health trend: A general aversion to sugar, and a raised awareness and adoption of healthy lifestyle choices.

Brands like Coca-Cola have had to rebrand products to raise sales numbers: Coke Zero, for example, became Coke Zero Sugar. But in general, soda sales have shrunk while retailers have seen a big increase in water, coffee, and "health beverage" sales. Kombucha sales, for example, have increased 37% in the past year, while consumption of ready-to-drink coffee beverages increased 52% from 2009 to 2015 and has just kept growing.

That's all to say: It seems like it's only a matter of time before "healthy" iced tea will hit the shelves. It's just a matter of rebranding.