Sales of tea in shops went up 3.5% to over £640m in the past year as spending on coffee, malt drinks and hot chocolate fell
Its popularity has been declining for years, but it looks like tea is finally making a return.
The great British cuppa is launching a fightback against fancy lattes and other expensive coffees, new industry figures reveal.
Sales of tea in shops – as opposed to cafes and eateries – went up 3.5 per cent to over £640 million in the past year as spending on coffee, malt drinks and hot chocolate fell.
It may only be a small step but after years of decline it shows a comeback for the beleaguered brew against the rise of takeaway coffees in the high street and the boom in pod machines at home.
However, the figures in trade journal The Grocer show that while the amount spent is up, the volume is down by 1.1 per cent which suggests a move to more upmarket teas is fuelling the surge in sales.
The figures, for the 12-month period to the end of May, were compiled by analysts for The Grocer who, separately, surveyed 2,100 adults about their tea-drinking habits.
They found that while 41 per cent still like a cup of ‘builder’s’ rather than herbal or green alternatives, there has also been an 8 per cent rise in the numbers who are willing to pay more for a quality brew.
Lucia Juliano, of pollsters Harris Interactive who carried out the survey for The Grocer, said younger adults wanted more than just the milk-and-two-sugars variety.
She said: ‘It seems that the average brew is no longer enough for consumers, particularly among the younger generation.
While 41% still like a cup of ‘builder’s’ rather than herbal or green alternatives, there has also been an 8% rise in the numbers who are willing to pay more for a quality brew, figures show
‘There’s been an 8 per cent increase in the past two years in the number of people who are willing to pay more for quality tea, now standing at 31 per cent.
‘This is particularly prominent amongst 25 to 34-year-olds, where the figure rises to 44 per cent.
‘Perhaps because flavoured and speciality teas are perceived as more of an indulgence, consumers who are buying these are more willing to spend that bit more on their cup of tea.’
What is does mean is that the amount of shelf space given to black tea – the kind Britain has drunk for over a century – is shrinking to make way for green, herbal and fruit flavours and “infusions”.’
Tetley marketing director, Peter Dries, said: ‘Tea has seen some big developments in the last year.
‘The arrival of teas with extra benefits is striking a chord with shoppers looking for something healthy and different, and this is leading to a high level of repeat sales as well as bringing in new consumers to tea.’