Matcha green tea is getting more popularity in the U.S. as an ingredient in foods, particularly in baked goods and beverages, according to a FONA flavor insight report. On social media, there were 14,000 social media posts made in September in English about matcha.
There have been 1,042 new product introductions with matcha around the globe since 2009. Only about 56 of those have been in North America, but the rate of new matcha products is expanding.
- Matcha, which is often thought to be bitter by Westerners, is most popular in North America as a chocolate or cookie. These products make up 45% of the matcha launches since 2009.
Matcha is native to China, but its processing has been perfected over centuries by the Japanese where it is an integral part of traditional tea parties and used it as an ingredient in other prepared foods.
Matcha shares many of the same health benefits as regular green tea, such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, but one cup of matcha is equivalent in antioxidants to three cups of other green teas. Some studies suggest that it can reverse kidney and liver damage, and is more successful at fighting viruses, fungi and bacteria infections.
Both manufacturers and consumers are finding creative ways to include matcha in food. Consumers add it to smoothies and other beverages, baked goods, yogurt, eggs dishes, stews, soups and just about any recipe that compliments its combined taste of sweet and savory, while manufacturers are testing it out as a sweetener replacement in coffee and other teas, or as a way to combat the sometimes too-sweet taste of granola or the saltiness of some soups.
And while matcha may currently be the new favorite child of the fad food world, its health benefits and versatility suggest that it is a trend that could eventually become mainstream, as it has been for centuries in Japan.