The mood among the German Tea & Herbal Association members is consistently positive. One reason for joy is that, according to the current Tea Report 2021, there has never been as much Tea drunk in Germany. In addition, more and more people are consciously making Tea and healthy foods for themselves. But current developments are now confronting the industry with unusual challenges. For example, the shortage of raw materials can lead to delivery bottlenecks for some tea, herbal, and fruit teas due to pandemics.

The pandemic's impacts are pronounced for many items, but they are more severe for herbs and fruits that are highly seasonal. Harvests in major producing countries failed in 2020 because people could not get to the fields at the appropriate harvest period due to total lockdowns. For example, the harvest of rose hips in Chile, a significant producer of the popular fruits, was halted owing to a several-week-long lockdown, and nettles from natural collections are also substantially less available for the same reason. The difficulty with the delicate natural raw materials is clearly stated by Maximilian Wittig, Managing Director of the German Tea & Herbal Tea Association: "Over 400 plant parts and plants are processed for herbal and fruit teas, some of which can only be collected once a year at specified periods. Harvesting at a later point in time is no longer viable once the time window in a year has closed. This limits the overall number of herbs and fruits accessible worldwide. In addition, prices might grow, making it much more difficult for producers to choose the needed attributes from a narrower variety. Our member firms, on the other hand, do not want to make any concessions when it comes to the quality of Tea or herbal and fruit teas in the interests of customers."

As if the situation caused by the pandemic wasn't already adverse enough for India's tea producers, there was also a historic drought in the critical growth areas of Assam and Darjeeling in the 2021 harvest. After all, Assam and Darjeeling produce 13% of the world's Tea, and they account for more than 33% of German black tea imports. For example, the output of First Flush tea, the exceptional first harvest after winter, was reduced by 48%. To successfully control the special situation, only half of the crew is permitted to work in the on-site tea gardens at times. Aside from the smaller harvest, there are also logistical issues. Even in our nation, consumers and merchants are experiencing global supply chain disruptions, particularly with numerous consumer items. Missing containers and port traffic congestion cause delays and slowly increase prices. Natural raw commodities such as teas, herbs, and fruits rely heavily on global logistics to function correctly.

As it did the previous year, the German tea business is doing all possible to guarantee that the epidemic has no effect on the shelves or in the cup. As a healthy meal and drink, Tea should continue to be available in all of its varieties and excellent quality. "Few people are aware that Germany is also a Tea exporting country. German tea products and refinements are particularly prized in France and the United States because of their excellent quality, "Maximilian Wittig, who is in great demand, summarizes. Even if a favored tea is unavailable for a short period in unusual circumstances, and increasing raw material procurement costs might impact the price development of finished tea blends, tea makers remain positive and hope for everyone's understanding.

Reprinting is free of charge. The Tea Report 2021, which includes data, trends, and background information, may be found at www.teeverband.de.

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