Tea Purveyors Take Center Stage at Natural Products Expo West

The Gourmet Retailer - March 22,2007

Tea Purveyors Take Center Stage at Natural Products Expo West
MARCH 22, 2007 –– A few things were evident to TGR’s Senior Editor James Mellgren at the 26th annual Natural Products Expo West held recently in Anaheim, Calif. One is that the world of natural, organic, and otherwise functional foods is growing fast, as is the crossover between natural and gourmet foods.

Another trend that is growing strong is that although we may not yet be able to call ourselves a nation of tea–drinkers, tea purveyors are becoming a formidable group of exhibitors at the show. Tea sales have been spurred on in part by the increasing evidence of their remedial properties. In other words, tea is healthy and tea is hot. It’s interesting to note that there is a propensity for engaging graphic design among tea traders. In fact, there were several tea companies, all with splendid teas and tea blends, and all with dazzling and compelling packaging. That is not to say that one can judge a tea by its cover, but we all know good packaging helps, even for the finest of products (how sad when an otherwise wonderful product languishes in merchandising purgatory because of boring graphics).

The TeaSpot (www.the–teaspot.com) produces a lovely assortment of beautifully packaged teas, along with an array of colorful Steepin’ Cups, gift sets, and an ingenious teapot called the Tea Maestro, in which the tea is brewed in a built–in infuser help in a ball that flips over when the tea is done, thereby removing the leaves from the liquid. It also has a timer on the top to remove the guesswork of proper brewing.