Exploring Tea and Herbal Drink Habits and Choices

Jenn Hoskins
14th April, 2024

Exploring Tea and Herbal Drink Habits and Choices

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Portugal, green tea is popular, but herbal infusions are preferred by various age groups
  • Consumers often buy tea in supermarkets and don't read labels or check expiry dates
  • Education on proper THI selection and use is needed to ensure health benefits
Tea and herbal infusions (THIs) are not just a comforting ritual for many around the world; they are also consumed for their potential health benefits. Despite the widespread use of these beverages, surprisingly little is known about the patterns and behaviors of consumers, particularly how socio-demographic factors influence their choices. A recent study by CESPU[1] aimed to shed light on these aspects by exploring the consumption patterns and behaviors of THI consumers in Portugal. The study utilized an online survey to gather data from 720 participants who met the criteria for the investigation. The majority of respondents were female (74.4%) and fell within the 40-60 age bracket (40.6%). Interestingly, while green tea emerged as the most popular choice among these consumers, herbal infusions like citronella, chamomile, and lemon verbena were preferred overall. The type of THIs consumed varied with age and the level of consumption, indicating that different demographics have distinct preferences. The survey also revealed that most THI purchases occur in supermarkets and brand stores, with the tea bag being the most common form of THIs bought. However, the study uncovered a concerning trend: almost half of the respondents admitted to not reading product labels before consumption, and a significant number used THIs beyond their expiry date. This lack of attention to labels and instructions suggests a need for better consumer education to ensure the quality and safety of THI products. The findings of this study resonate with earlier research that has highlighted the potential health benefits of herbal teas. A scoping review[2] identified a small number of studies examining the clinical efficacy and safety of herbal teas in various health contexts, such as female health, diabetes, and heart disease. This earlier work underscores the importance of understanding consumer behavior, as the health benefits of THIs can only be realized if the products are selected and used correctly. Moreover, the chemical stability of tea's bioactive compounds, such as catechins, is known to be affected by temperature[3]. The CESPU study did not delve into the preparation methods of consumers, but this is an area where consumer education could potentially enhance the health benefits of THIs, as improper brewing temperatures could lead to the degradation of these beneficial compounds. In the realm of fermented tea beverages like Kombucha, which are gaining popularity for their purported health properties, the type of tea and fermentation parameters significantly influence the content of bioactive compounds[4]. The CESPU study did not specify whether such fermented products were included in their survey, but the preference for certain herbal infusions suggests that consumers may also be interested in the health-promoting properties of fermented THIs. The CESPU study provides valuable insights into the consumption patterns of THIs in Portugal, highlighting the influence of socio-demographic factors on consumer choices. It also points to a crucial gap in consumer practices, particularly regarding label reading and adherence to product instructions. This calls for targeted interventions to educate consumers on the proper selection and use of THIs to fully benefit from their health-promoting properties. As the popularity of THIs continues to grow, understanding and influencing consumer behavior becomes increasingly important for public health.



Main Study

1) Exploring tea and herbal infusions consumption patterns and behaviours: The case of Portuguese consumers.

Published 15th April, 2024 (future Journal edition)


Related Studies

2) Herbal Teas and their Health Benefits: A Scoping Review.


3) Differential behaviors of tea catechins under thermal processing: Formation of non-enzymatic oligomers.


4) Kombucha Tea-A Double Power of Bioactive Compounds from Tea and Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts (SCOBY).


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