This study formed part of a larger project in which food and beverage fortification as a way to address specific micronutrient deficiencies was evaluated in selected subjects in the Vaal Triangle. The objective of this study was to examine the suitability of the habit of tea drinking as a vehicle for fortification. This was achieved through a survey which sought information about the amount of tea consumed, the type of tea mostly consumed, additions to the tea, when tea is consumed, the reasons for tea consumption and preference for tea or other beverages.
The study was conducted in a randomly selected sample of 500 male and female Africans, aged 13 to 25 years in the Vaal Triangle, South Africa. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods were used simultaneously and sequentially to collect data. Questionnaires were designed in which open questions addressing the objectives of the research were validated and sent out to collect the information.
The results showed that most respondents (92.9 %) consumed at least one cup of tea daily, with rooibos
tea selected as the most popular in this study (50 % of tea consumed). Sugar (40.4 %) and milk (37.0 %) are added most often to the tea. Respondents indicated that the preferred times for tea consumption are at breakfast, early morning and evening. According to the preference scales of these respondents, tea was the third most consumed beverage in summer and the first most consumed beverage in winter.