Rooibos exports to Japan hit record high

More than 2 000 tonnes of Rooibos were shipped to Japan in 2018 – the largest consignment since this South African indigenous tea was first introduced to the Japanese market in the 1980s. Martin Bergh, chairperson of the SA Rooibos Council, says it has not been easy breaking into the Japanese market – one of the largest tea-drinking nations in the world – as they have more than 26 different types of tea to choose from. However, over the years, Rooibos has carved a niche for itself in Japan’s ‘healthy tea’ segment.

The general trend toward health and wellness products is also impacting purchasing patterns in Asia. While the Western world has known about the risks associated with drinking too much caffeine for some time, the Japanese have only recently become aware of it. This has helped to increase the appeal of Rooibos since it is low in tannins and completely caffeine-free. It is therefore expected that the demand for Rooibos will grow in Japan.

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