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Drinks survey reveals Rooibos as a top choice among SA men

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A national survey, released during Men’s Health Month, unveils fascinating insights into the beverage preferences of South African men.

Conducted among more than 700 respondents, the survey captures the nuances of beverage choices among men in different settings, professions, and age groups, providing valuable data for understanding men’s beverage preferences, drinking habits and views on healthier lifestyles.

The survey found that 46% of men start their day with a cup of coffee, while 30% opt for Rooibos as their preferred sunrise sip. Water was the third most popular daybreak drink at 9%, followed by black tea (4%) and other herbal infusions like chamomile, chai, ginger and hibiscus at 2%.

Dr Gerald Maarman, a biomedical scientist and leading Rooibos researcher, says it’s encouraging to see such a significant number of men choosing Rooibos to kickstart their day. “Its natural sweet taste, rich antioxidant profile and caffeine-free nature make it an excellent morning beverage.”

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, finding effective ways to manage stress is crucial. Many South African men turn to specific beverages to help them relax and cope with their hectic schedules. Sixty nine percent of men rely on Adam’s ale (water) to combat stress, while 16% turn to coffee and 11% to Rooibos. For unwinding after a long day, Rooibos tops the list at 32%, followed by beer at 19% and coffee at 12%. Spirits and wine were also popular choices, at 11% and 10% respectively.

Men reported drinking Rooibos not only to relax but also to support physical activity, illustrating the versatile nature of the tisane. During workouts, hydration is crucial. The survey revealed that 67% of men prioritise water during exercise. Rooibos was the second most popular workout drink, followed by other herbal teas. Sports drinks and electrolyte-enhanced water were also cited as popular fourth and fifth options.

In social settings, Rooibos and beer are tied as the preferred drinks at 47%, with black tea, coolers and ciders following closely behind. Among men, the predominant consideration in selecting a beverage was “taste”, with “occasion and setting” (47%) and “health considerations” (39%) also proving significant.

Rooibos is a strong contender in the hot beverage category, with 45% of males preferring coffee and 42% opting for Rooibos. Black tea and hot chocolate followed at 5% respectively. More than 42% of men drink at least one cup of Rooibos daily, 22% consume two to three servings a week and 17% drink it every other week.

Health and well-being play a pivotal role for more than 60% of men, who recognise the benefits of drinking tea or tisanes. “Rooibos’ unique combination of antioxidants helps fight inflammation and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other metabolic conditions,” notes Maarman.

The survey, which was commissioned by the SARC also delved into how stereotypes impact tea-drinking behaviours.

Almost half (47%) of those surveyed highlighted evolving views on tea/tisanes as a drink accepted by people of all genders and ages, expressing their enjoyment of Rooibos regardless of the situation or company. A small percentage (5%) felt that tea was predominantly associated with women rather than men, which explains why, in certain social settings, they prefer alternatives like coffee or beer.

Cultural and familial connections are strong among Rooibos drinkers, with 55% indicating these ties as likely reasons for their preference. Another 29% enjoy Rooibos for its taste and health benefits, without necessarily growing up with it or having any special connections to the tisane. The survey highlighted that 55% of men enjoy Rooibos in both social and solitary settings, while 31% prefer to consume it alone or with close companions.

Generational differences also emerged, with the Silent Generation (aged 79-96) being the most frequent Rooibos drinkers at 67%. Millennials (aged 28-43), ranked second in terms of Rooibos consumption at 48%, followed by Baby Boomers (aged 60-78) at 44%. Gen X (aged 44-59) ranked fourth with 35%, while Gen Z (aged 18-27) came in fifth position at 30%.

In terms of professions, men in the construction and engineering industries prefer Rooibos over any other hot beverage, with those in IT and telecoms, hospitality, entrepreneurship, and skilled trades (such as electricians and plumbers) following suit.

Maarman says Rooibos offers a myriad of health benefits, particularly for men. “Its antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and inflammation, crucial for those with active lifestyles. Rooibos also supports heart health by improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels, aiding in muscle recovery, reducing muscle spasms and enhancing sleep quality. Additionally, it improves sperm concentration and function, immune function, weight management and skin health.”

The Men’s Drinking Habits Survey highlights Rooibos as a versatile and healthy beverage choice for men across South Africa, cementing its role in their daily routines while promoting overall well-being.

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