Although the tea industry has often thought to have been eclipsed by coffee, new research suggests that the future is bright for the tea market.
Commissioned by National Tea Day (which takes on 21 April each year), the report combines research for the first time from over 50 tea brands, venues and consumers alike to give new insight into the sector.
It indicates that a major shift has occurred, largely driven by younger generations who are less tempted by the traditional ‘builders brew’ and look to herbal teas for more diversity in flavour, a sensory experience and added health benefits.
Marco Geraghty, founder of National Tea Day, said: “Our mission at National Tea Day is to ‘Reignite Britain’s Passion for Tea’ and in writing this report we have rediscovered that Brits are becoming far more passionate about tea than we ever imagined.
“What we are seeing is a complete shift in consumer behaviour. Drinkers are buying less poor-quality teas and opting for premium offerings, a shift which is transforming the tea industry into a dynamic trade with bags of room for growth.
“The move is driven by consumer demand for great quality products with added health benefits – including anti-oxidants and amino acids – but drinkers are also viewing tea as less of a routine based beverage and more of an experience led drink.”
With 150 million cups of tea consumed out of the home each week and many venues claiming afternoon tea sales account for over 50% of all F&B takings, it’s clear there is huge potential for outlets to capitalise on this growing trend.
The experience must surpass what the drinker can expect to receive at home so variation and presentation, as well as quality are vital.
Modern consumers also like to be educated about a product and are more concerned about sustainability so brands with a strong story of provenance, ethics and sourcing do well at giving drinkers a richer experience.
Diaz Ayub, National Tea Day founder and Tea Futurist, said: “New brands are emerging by the week, and with them bringing new ideas and new products to the market.
“With this, consumers are building direct relationships with brands with a genuine focus on embracing products which are sustainable and have a story.”