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World Tea Expo Delivers A ‘Fresh Crop’ Of Educational Content, June 1 – 3

Will Tea Be as Big as Coffee? How Do Grocery Store Tea Blends Stack up? Will the Palate of the Tea Customer Improve? Thousands Gear-up for Answers at the Biggest Tea Expo

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 1, 2012) — World Tea Expo, the largest and most prominent B2B trade show and conference for premium tea and related products, is presenting an impressive line-up of all new educational content for its upcoming event, June 1 – 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. The entire curriculum covers the latest industry trends, answers current business challenges and provides real "take-away" solutions for professionals. Registration is open at WorldTeaExpo.com.

Kim Jage, sales and marketing director, World Tea Media, a division of F+W Media, says, “Over the past 10 years, World Tea Expo has offered more than 450 educational sessions. This year, we adopted a ‘No Repeat’ policy in celebration of our 10-year anniversary. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. All educational content is brand new – and stellar, I might add.”

The conference program, geared toward bolstering business, includes: Core Conference Seminars; Executive & Technical Content; Focused Tastings and hands-on Skill Building Workshops; in addition to the annual New Business Boot Camp.

Further, the Expo offers a World Origin Tasting Tour that covers the tastes and cultures of some of the most important tea growing regions in the world – China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Nepal, Korea and Taiwan. At each “destination,” attendees explore the country's tea culture and unique manufacturing processes and taste teas of that origin, gaining a solid understanding of the regional flavors and profiles.

Session: Will Tea Ever Be as Big as Coffee?

One hotly anticipated panel discussion ponders: Will tea ever be as big as coffee? Will the size of the tea retail market catch up to coffee? Will coffee retailers absorb much of the projected growth in tea sales? The matter is a much-discussed focus for the tea trade, especially as the industry is experiencing a new breed of tea retail chains that are finding success in multiple locations in the United States. Currently, there are more than 25,000 U.S. coffeehouses and around 3,500 U.S. tea retail locations. Market leaders are set to discuss and dissect the topic, sharing their conclusions with conference delegates. Panelists include: David Bellasario, president of Teaopia; Charles Cain, vice president, Tazo merchant and operations, Starbucks; Joseph Cugine, president, Argo Tea; and David De Candia, senior manager tea, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Understanding the Tea Retail Shopper

Drawing upon industry data, this presentation on tea retail shoppers features insights on purchasing rates by: product type, variety and flavor choices for bagged/loose vs. ready-to-drink (RTD) tea, planned vs. impulse purchasing, price/promotion based purchasing and product choice motivators. Presented by speaker David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, the session also builds upon sales tracking data, new product introduction and demographic data – all to provide a cross-channel view of specialty tea trends.

Sprinkle says, “The tea market is undergoing a transformational change, driven by flavor, variety and quality innovation. At the heart of the change lies ‘specialty’ tea. Competition between distribution channels for the specialty tea consumer is fierce, with foodservice and retail players increasingly pursing multi-channel distribution strategies. Ultimately, however, the tea industry as a whole is the winner, as specialty tea products bring more rewards to marketers and more satisfaction to consumers than the more commoditized products they are replacing.”

Expo Evaluates Grocery Store Tea Blends

Another educational session is shaking up the industry as it prepares to deconstruct famous, traditional grocery store tea blends. George Jage, director, World Tea Media, says, “The tea aisle at grocery stores remains the primary place where mainstream Americans buy their tea, so why not let the experts evaluate and access these offerings? This hands-on blending workshop also allows attendees to use some of the famous traditional blends as inspiration. We encourage them to use the teas as a foundation for creating their own best-selling loose leaf teas.” Speaker Victor Jara, purchasing and regulatory affairs, Sungarden Tea, leads this session.

TDS in RTD Teas: How Much Is Enough?

As the fastest growing tea market segment in the tea marketplace, RTD teas are booming with hundreds of new products being introduced each year. Existing RTD teas range from tea-flavored sugar water to brewed tea with minimal additives. As RTDs rise, the industry is looking at total dissolved solids (TDS) in these beverages. Wikipedia says TDS is “a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid.” The session asks: Should there be internal or external TDS regulations or labeling on “real tea”? The seminar also considers what should be measured and how that should be communicated and enforced? A mix of distinguished panelists is scheduled to look at the opportunities, pitfalls and challenges of such a program, and the possible effects of doing nothing. Moderated by Rob McCaleb, founder and president of the Herb Research Foundation, the session features: Frank Jaksch, CEO, ChromaDex; Michael McGuffin, president, American Herbal Products Association; Joe Simrany, president, Tea Association of the USA, Inc.; and Ray Welch, president, ThirsTea Corporation.

Improving the Tea Customer's Palate

As consumers’ culinary knowledge and sophistication rise, how can tea professionals take customers from mainstream teas to better quality and better tasting teas that showcase specific regions and varietals? Tea buyer and expert Lydia Kung, Eastrise Trading Corp., proposes one plan at World Tea Expo, to bridge the gap between standard and lesser-known but praiseworthy teas. Kung says, “In terms of product knowledge, teas may be trailing behind food and wine in the current culinary culture. Indeed, as we witness a move to authenticity – tracing sources back to the growers – what better fit into the scheme of things than tea, where so many flavors and aromas are elicited from no more than the leaves? However, becoming more selective as a tea purveyor or as a tea consumer does not mean limiting oneself to only esoteric high-priced teas. Among all the teas in the marketplace, where might one begin and why begin with one category rather than another?” Kung’s session considers what such an exploration might look like, along with a conceptual framework to support the progression of the tea consumer.

Other seminars and workshops look at: the evolution of a tea store; a new dawn for Japanese tea; tea science updates; how to put together a comparative tea and wine tasting; tea, nutrition and health; caffeine and antioxidant clarity; and applying principles of taste biology to the appreciation of teas and food pairings.

To register or for additional information, visit www.WorldTeaExpo.com.

About World Tea Media

World Tea Media is an integrated media company dedicated to providing business solutions to the global tea industry. Events include the annual World Tea Expo, the largest and most prominent event for the industry, and World Tea East, the regional event for the northeast, mid-Atlantic and southeast United States. World Tea Media also produces the North American Tea Championship and World Tea News. The North American Tea Championship is the only professional and independent competition that distinguishes the highest quality and best tasting teas commercially available in the North American marketplace. World Tea News is an online portal that offers in-depth news, features and business insight for the global tea industry. World Tea Media is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev. www.worldteamedia.com

About F+W Media, Inc.

F+W Media is a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts. The Company offers a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video and more. The Company serves 20 different markets, including writing, fine art, genealogy, antiques and collectibles, design, outdoors, and horticulture. Its growing portfolio includes print and online properties, free and for-fee subscription sites, educational programs, competitions and events. www.fwmedia.com