Research showing the extent to which the UK is embracing 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.

That’s the message from Bridgethorne, the category, customer and shopper management specialist, following research that revealed year on year growth in value of speciality tea and fruit & herbal infusions of 6% and 5% respectively. This compares to a 5% decline in value for the mainstream tea sector.*

“The research reflects what we see around us: cafes and coffee shops are having to offer more than just standard black tea and brands like Twinings, Teapigs and Clipper have grown in popularity. Even the bigger brands like PG Tips and Tetley have introduced fruit, green, herbal and decaffeinated teas into their ranges. This is attracting younger drinkers who perceive them as having health and wellbeing benefits, something which has also underpinned the 5% growth in sales of decaffeinated tea in the last year,” explains John Nevens, co-founder of 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 formats including biodegradable pyramid bags and 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, says Nevens, 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,” says Nevens. 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 adds, 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”.

Bridgethorne specialises in assisting suppliers to deliver revenue growth through effective category management. It does this through tools and processes that have been developed from real working situations and which have proven effective many times.  This includes analysing multiple source data, measuring and analysing sales performance and drawing out valuable insights from data that can inform a series of action points to deliver category growth.

Source: Kantar World Panel, 52 w/e 20th July 2014.