SA Youth Rank Rooibos Among Their Favorite Hot Beverages

Young woman drinking tea
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“Drinking Rooibos is cool”, say SA youth. That’s according to the recently released 2022 Sunday Times GenNext Survey, which is the leading barometer of what South African youth find on trend and aspirational.

Rooibos followed hot on the heels of Starbucks Coffee, taking 2nd place. It also managed to pip other favourites like Nescafé, Milo, Nestlé Hot Chocolate and Hug-in-a-mug at the post.

A ‘hot beverage’ category was added to the survey for the first time last year, where two black tea brands featured prominently. In this year’s results, Rooibos was the only tisane (herbal infusion) or tea to feature in the top ten ranking – marking a tipping point for the product.

More than 6 000 South African youth (aged 8 to 23) and young professionals (aged 25 to 30) were asked to name their coolest products and brands across 69 categories.

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council says that the accolade is extra special given the wide repertoire of beverages that the youth of today can choose from.

“Rooibos is coming into its own. It has evolved from being a simple grocery item to an aspirational product that consumers want and seek out.

“Part of its appeal is its versatility. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, as a cappuccino, espresso, cocktail/mocktail, energy drink, smoothie or bubble tea and comes in more than 100 different blends. This makes it fun and exciting for adventurous youth to experiment with.” 

She says the survey results show that Rooibos is starting to tap into the emotional pulse of the younger generation, where it’s not just about selling a product, but a lifestyle.

“The youth are becoming more health conscious with many prioritising functional food and beverage purchases over sugary drinks and processed food. Rooibos is caffeine-free, low in tannins and abundant in antioxidants, which all promote health.”

About 14 000 tonnes of Rooibos are produced annually. Half of it is consumed locally, while the remainder is exported to 30 countries across the globe.

Social media has also helped to popularise Rooibos with food and drink remaining the most Instagrammed topic to date.

“Social networking has changed the way we eat and drink and are driving trends and behaviours, especially among Millennials and Gen Zs,” says du Toit. “The youth of today are more informed about products than any other generation. They do research, ask more questions and are more concerned about what they put into their bodies and how products impact the environment. Rooibos ticks all of these boxes.”

Should current trends continue, the sky is the limit for Rooibos.

For more info on Rooibos, visit