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UK TEA MARKET TRENDS

It’s perhaps not news that interest in tea is growing, but the detail around the key drivers influencing consumer trends provides great insight into how through specific experiences and choice of teas on the menu, you can tap into these trends and increase your tea sales.

To put in context, the Out of Home UK Food Service market was estimated in 2017 to be £87.9bn and with the UK Coffee Shop market alone expected to exceed 32,000 in the UK by 2025 (more than there are pubs!), it’s not surprising that the number of consumers drinking tea out of home has increased too. This increase, coupled with an increase in the average price of a cup of tea, has led to a 13.6% increase in the value of the UK food service tea market between 2015 and 2017. So the tea market is growing!

So what are some of the key consumer drivers that are trending in the Out of Home tea market?

Feeling Healthy – Whilst black tea is still the main type of tea consumed out of home, consumers are very much engaged with proactively supporting their health or looking to relieve a particular health issue. To this end, functional teas are proving extremely popular and definitely ones to include on your menu.

Tea With Friends – There is a general trend towards consumers spending more on experiences and less on material goods. For tea, this has meant that consumers look to spend precious time with friends and family where the foodservice venue has created the environment where tea is consumed as part of a social occasion. In addition, there has been an explosion in the desire for new blends and tastes providing added appeal to visit the venues where new taste sensations can be experienced and shared. Holding Afternoon Teas, Tea Tastings and regularly offering new blends or seasonal teas that can offer new taste experiences will keep interest.

Trust – Consumers are concerned about the origin and quality of food and drink. Highlighting the provenance and ethical sourcing of your teas, the ingredients and craftsmanship behind the product all help address these concerns and build trust.

Happy To Pay More – 31% of consumers state “I’m willing to pay more for quality tea”. There has been an increase in the consumption of loose leaf tea as the preference for quality tea rises and the theatre around serving tea becomes more popular within foodservice. Again communication about what makes the tea special and high quality is important.

Growing Speciality Teas – The following teas show percentage growth of teas drunk from 2015 – 2017 taken from foodservice market data of coffee shops & cafes:

  • Chai = 93.8%
  • Darjeeling = 20.3%
  • Assam = 28.4%
  • Fruit = 20.3%
  • Peppermint = 14.6%
  • For those customers selling direct to consumers for At Home Consumption there are some interesting trends too.

    Tea Types – Whilst black tea is still the most frequently consumed type of tea, around a third of consumers are drinking green tea, speciality tea and fruit teas at least once per month

    Motivator – 71% of at home tea drinkers agree that drinking tea is comforting.

    Quality – Consumers are trading up to more premium teas whilst ‘standard black tea’ at home consumption shows weak growth.

    Sources: MCA UK Eating Out Market Data Report

    Mintel - Tea & Other Hot Drinks July 2017

    Bord Bia Lifestyle Trends 2017/The Futures Company

    Tetley Tea Academy Report 2018

    The Grocer

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