Tastes may be changing in Britain as sales of black tea bags are declining and interest in green tea, fruit-flavored teas and herbals are on the rise.
Standard black tea bags have long been the prominent tea choice and they continue to be so, with annual sales of£415 million. All other tea types combined account for only 55% of that number. Yet change is afoot.
Over the past year, sales of those black tea bags have dropped 5%. Overall, the retail volume of these teas dropped 9% between 2008 and 2013. Meanwhile green tea sales rose 10% and fruit and herbal teas increased 8% in the past year. Herbals have shown the highest volume growth since 2008.
Several major tea companies, including Unilever, believe that the change is partly attributable to a quest for better health by many tea drinkers. As a result, these companies are adding more teas in these segments, as well as decaffeinated teas, to their selection. Commodity companies like Tetley and PG Tips are taking the biggest blows with standard tea. Lines like teapigs, a Tata subsidiary, are staving off the declines by emphasizing their commitment to premium tea.
Tea companies are all too aware of the aging tea drinking population. As of 2011, 88% of the over-65 population drank tea while that number was only 73% for those ages 15-34. Only half of 16-24 year olds currently drink tea.
Source: The Telegraph and Euromonitor International