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Britain’s Growing Appreciation For Green and Herbal Tea

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Britain’s Growing Appreciation For Green and Herbal Tea

Britain’s Growing Appreciation For Green and Herbal Tea
March 21
15:02 2012

New research from Mintel finds British consumers are increasingly turning to alternative varieties of tea, as sales of green tea bags have shot up an impressive 83% in past two years alone. Indeed, the strain is showing for good old-fashioned English Breakfast tea. Although accounting for the biggest share of the tea market (70%), sales of ordinary English Breakfast tea bags dropped by 1.5% from £470 million to £463 million between 2010 and 2011. Since 2009, the share of ordinary bags as a percentage of all in home tea sales has declined from 73% in 2009 to 70% in 2011. What is more, the number of British consumers using English Breakfast tea in the past 12 months has fallen from 87% in 2010 to 83% in 2011.

Meanwhile, other more exotic varieties have shown more positive performances, indeed, between 2009 and 2011, sales of “Fruit and Herbal bags” (valued at £54 million in 2011) increased 10%, while “Speciality bags” (£52 million) and “Decaffeinated bags” (£36 million) grew by 8% and 16% respectively. But it was the “Green bags” sector which was the real star performer of the home tea sector. Sales of Green bags grew a sensational 83% between 2009 and 2011, the market almost doubling from £12 million in 2009 to £22 million in 2011. Today, as many as 12% of Brits drink Green tea on a weekly basis.

Alex Beckett, senior food analyst at Mintel, comments: “While Engligh Breakfast tea is fondly regarded, the expansion of coffee chains and the exotic flavours of fruit, herbal and green teas are encouraging consumers to diversify their consumption habits, prompting fewer cups of standard tea to be drunk. Though the segment continues to play only a niche role in the market, Green tea, like Fruit and Herbal teas, has benefited from positive associations with healthiness. Green tea extracts are increasingly found in cosmetic beauty products, raising the profile of Green tea among women in particular.”

Overall, retail value sales of tea in the UK jumped by 22% to £655 million between 2006 and 2011. Annual sales growth had rapidly accelerated to 11.9% in 2009 when the market was valued at £610 million. This was largely fuelled by price inflation, which also remained high in 2010 when the total value hit £660 million. The tea market then declined in 2011, when value fell 1% to £655 million. Today, tea is drunk by almost nine in ten (87%) Brits.

“When faced with adversity, Britons have historically reached for a cup of tea. And the state of the current economic climate should in theory provide bountiful times for tea brands, considering three quarters of users describe it as comforting. However, diversity appears to be impacting tea consumption more than adversity these days. With usage rates falling and value sales growth all but reliant on commodity inflation, it could be forgiven for disregarding the long-established motto to ‘Keep calm and carry on’.” Alex Beckett continues.

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