RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

Brits are drinking less tea, study finds

Spending on speciality tea, however, is up.

Brits have purchased 2.57 million fewer kilos of tea this year compared to last year, according to a report by data and insight company Kantar.

The decline followed a trend from the year before, which represented the biggest drop in tea consumption the country has seen in four years.

Kantar client executive Sam Henery said there were 630 million fewer tea-drinking occasions in the year to February 2019 compared to the previous year, even as Brits enjoyed a cup on 18.3 billion occasions as a nation.

“Spend on tea overall is £663,327,000 - down 1%. This is largely due to falls in frequency of purchase – that's across every age group, but 16-34 and 45-54 year olds are declining faster than the average. And that decline is despite prices rising by 7p a kilogram (+3.1% year on year) this year,” Henery said.

Spending on speciality tea up 
Meanwhile, spending on speciality tea is up 4.2% partly due to a 2.7% rise in average prices. Occasions involving speciality tea were also up 10% in the time period, or 100 million, largely from Brits over the age of 55.

“Everyday Decaf” spend is also up by 5.5%, thanks to more shoppers making that choice in the supermarket. This subcategory has made shopper gains across nearly all major retailers. Yorkshire Tea has been the biggest winner with over 28% spend growth over the past year.

Four in ten consumption occasions of Everyday Decaf tea come at breakfast, a trend that has been growing over the past year. Once more, the core 55+ audience have been driving this growth, as many have been adding decaf to their breakfast routine.

“The tea category is a notoriously seasonal category, with consumption spiking in winter and falling away in summer,” Henery added. “In an attempt to combat this volatility, manufacturers like Twining’s and Tetley have released a wave of new products in the form of cold infused tea. Without trended data it is hard to measure the success of the new sector, but in its first year it surpassed £8m in spend – almost as large as the established Redbush Tea sector."

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