More than half the global tea production is consumed in the producing countries and the rest is exported. In general, the leafy teas are of higher quality, and are especially appreciated in premium loose tea markets, such as Germany and Japan. Consumers in USA, UK and The Netherlands show a preference for tea bags. Ready to drink tea products such as ice tea, lemonade with tea extracts and bottled tea are increasing in popularity in many countries.



The main tea packers, Unilever (brands: Lipton, Brook Bond and RG tips) and Tata Tea (brand: Tetley), are key players in the retail market. They dominate the trade, have a strong influence on transport companies, and source part of their supplies from their own plantations. This differs from the situation in coffee and cocoa where companies only operate in a specific part of the chain.

In The Netherlands, Sara Lee International is the key-player, controlling 65% of the Dutch tea market with their brand Pickwick.