Ingredient Insight: Matcha

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Consumers are becoming ever more health conscious and increasingly aware of what they’re eating, paying particular attention to ingredients with potential health benefits. We have a look at matcha and see how this trending ingredient has become a super power in the beverage space.

The Rise of Matcha

Matcha originates from China where the leaves were first consumed as an aid for meditation practice. In 1191, the Chinese methods of preparation were bought to Japan when Zen Monk Eisai bought tea seeds from his study trip to China. He was known for bringing this tea culture in Japan by encouraging a new form of cultivation. It was first drunk as an aid to Buddhist meditation practice. It was not until the 18th century when matcha became more widely available due to the invention of a revolutionary processing method that launched tea on a larger scale.

Why Matcha is Here to Stay

Matcha is full of antioxidants known as catechins, in particular EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). This anti-cancer polyphenol occurs as matcha powder is made from whole leaves that have been pulverised from the Camellia sinensis plant and is therefore naturally occurring. This is perhaps why it is known as a superior version of green tea, giving you 137 times the number of antioxidants than green tea. The ingredient is also reported to support weight loss by boosting the metabolism. It also has a host of nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, magnesium, fibre and chlorophyll.

As told by Food Navigator, the number of matcha green tea food and drink products launched has increased by 246% in the last five years from 2016. The value of the global matcha market is expected to reach USD 5.07 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The increase is spurred by the demand for healthy food and functional drinks and matcha sits very comfortably within this established trend.

According to Grand View Research, the U.S., Canada, Germany, the UK, France, and Australia have been identified as the key regions driving this global growth for matcha flavoured beverages. More specifically, matcha tea is the most in-demand. The market remains dominant in Asia Pacific, yet Europe is predicted to be the fastest growing region consuming matcha tea according to Market Research Future.

The ingredient can also be found blended into smoothies, beer, carbonated beverages, lattes and cold almond milks. According to PR Newswire: “North America is expected to witness considerable growth over the forecast years, driven by the rising number of outlets selling matcha-based beverages in the U.S. market.” This could be potentially due to the growing range of matcha products that will appeal to a wider customer base.

This versatile and popular ingredient can be found in food products such as ice cream, chocolate, crisps, donuts, granola, quark and even instant noodles. The variety of products containing this internationally inspired ingredient is likely due to its attractive health benefits and its vivid colour.

With colour being a major social media influence on platforms such as Instagram, matcha has gained a lot of attention. This is possibly due to higher coloured food which are thought to be more flavoursome and exciting, (specifically to the millennial consumer) and therefore social media has made matcha very much a “share-worthy” ingredient. This, combined with the texture trend “can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive—and documentation-worthy—experiences” according to Mintel. This ingredient has therefore heightened product awareness via image centric media such as Pinterest and Instagram attracting millennials who crave to be a part of new and exciting trends.

Matcha is rich and complex in flavour and is starting to be used in more and more ambitious flavour pairings. The base umami flavour you taste is due to the presence of L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation. According to Think with Google, ‘the UK and Mexico are most likely to pair it with chocolate, while the US is more likely to add milk.’ Other common flavour pairings are citrus, as doing so can increase the number of antioxidants the body can absorb.

Reliable and Consistent Tea Solutions

With significant expansion of our tea processing facility, the scale of our tea production operation is one of the largest in the industry and is designed to suit your application. With our innovative technology and our in-house tea sommeliers, our Matcha Treattarome® is able to mirror the strength of the umami taste and body without the inconvenience of the powder. It is 100% natural being wholly brewed from matcha powder, grounded from the whole leaves.
For more information on how we can help with your tea application, please email to find out more.