Britain’s changing tea tastes offers prospect of further category growth, says Bridgethorne

Research showing the extent to which the UK is continuing to embrace herbal teas and fruit infusions at the expense of traditional English breakfast tea reveals potential for significant category growth for those suppliers able deliver the insights on how to take advantage of our changing tastes.

Figures showed that last year Britons drank 870 million fewer cups of tea, bought 2.6 million kilograms less tea, although this was compensated for by a growth in sales of premium and herbals teas and fruit infusions, which led to the value of tea sales rising by 0.6% to £669.2 million last year. Black tea, though, still accounts for 85% of all tea sales and remains the UK’s most popular drink.*

“This merely reflects what we see around us with brands bringing fruit, green, herbal and decaffeinated teas into their ranges, which are proving attractive to younger drinkers who perceive them as having health and wellbeing benefits,” explains John Nevens, Joint Managing Director, category management and shopper marketing specialist, Bridgethorne.

“There is no evidence to suggest that this growth in the speciality tea market is going to slow down. Far from it; in fact, with new loose leaf teas and new blends, the category offers strong prospects for growth for suppliers who do what it needed to understand the category.”

But, Nevens adds, suppliers need to have an effective category strategy in place to discuss with retailers, which reflects the expectations and goals of both the supplier and the retailer.

“Suppliers must regard it as their responsibility to help grow categories, increase margins and help the retailer deliver on its KPIs. But it seems that while retailers are crying out for the data, analyses and reports that help them build the category as a whole, many suppliers continue to fail to carry out even these routine category management tasks.”

This, he says, means crunching the numbers, completing the analyses, building the reports, undertaking the range reviews and using the insights from the data to show how to grow the category for the benefit of both themselves and the retailer, and how best to channel investment.

“Simply supplying great products may no longer be enough. From our regular conversations with retailers and their buyers we know that there is frustration that, when it comes to trying to get products listed, suppliers are often missing solid category based rationales. They often don’t know how to extract the best insights from their data, or turn it into a selling story that resonates with the buyer. What we do helps grow categories and by leveraging objective insights, suppliers and retailers may also benefit by developing joint initiatives for category growth and creating mutually beneficial trade investment plans.”


* Source: Kantar Worldpanel