As if being blamed for the end of shopping malls, bars of soap and dinner dates wasn’t enough, if you were born between 1981 and 1996, now you’re being held responsible for the death of iced tea.
A recent study by YouGov BrandIndex showed that younger Americans have grown less fond of the drink over the past two years. Only 18 percent of millennials surveyed they would consider purchasing ice tea the next time they go to buy a beverage — down a full five points from the same study conducted in January 2016.
This shift is seemingly part of a larger trend in beverages overall. Millennials have reported a “negative impression” of big named ice tea brands like Lipton, Nestea, Snapple, and Crystal Light. The only brand whose reputation has remained favorable with millennials is Arizona.
There hasn’t been one big event that has lead to the slide in ice tea sales, but rather as BrandIndex believes, a larger concern for health and a sugar aversion. Big name brands of ice tea are known for having nearly as much sugar as a can of Coke.
Brands like Coca-Cola have ushered in products with less or no sugar added, for example Coke Zero. But in general, soda sales have shrunk while sales in other healthy beverages like water, coffee and Kombucha have increased. Kombucha sales, for example, have seen a 37 percent increase in the past 12 months.
It’s only a matter of time before ice tea is back on top. With a little rebranding, any one of the big brands — or maybe even a newcomer — could position the beverage back in the health food column (as long as they keep the added sugar on the shelf). The naturally low-calorie food has many benefits including keeping you hydrated, boosting antioxidants, helping your heart and fighting cancer.