Britain’s youthful tea drinkers are switching from standard tea bags to herbals and specialty fruit and floral tea blends. The trend has been apparent for the past few years but appears to be accelerating.
Sales of tea bags are predicted to drop 5% in 2016 to $793 million, according to market research firm Mintel International.
Researchers found that only 16% of young people in the United Kingdom reported drinking tea more than five times a day.
A Marie Claire article explains “Why Tea Is Officially No Longer Cool” with youthful British tea drinkers, noting that people aged 55–64 are now twice as likely to drink five cups a day than those aged 16–34.
“Instead, millennials are choosing to drink specialty teas, such as green and fruit flavored ones – a choice which has caused sales of green tea to rocket by 39% in the past two years,” the magazine reports.
Almost half (49%) of those aged 25 to 34 drink green tea compared to less than one quarter (22%) of those aged over 55, according to Mintel.
“Their reasons for going green? Number one is vanity, with half of the people surveyed in that age group [16–34] saying they were worried that drinking too much tea would stain their teeth.” Another 23% say tea contains too much caffeine to drink in the afternoon or evening, reports Marie Claire.
Futurologist Morgaine Gay suggests millennials are “too damn cool” to drink your everyday tea.
She explained in The Guardian that beverage choices aren’t just about taste and comfort anymore. These are savvy consumers who want to make a statement. Tea drinking “is about aspiration, showing how healthy, attuned and cool you are.”
“You might have a cup of tea at your mum’s, but not when you are out or in a cafe because it doesn’t say anything,” said Morgaine.
Richard Caines, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel International, suggests “tea brands need to increase the appeal of their products to 16 to 34 year olds.”
Caines said only 9% of pub diners have had afternoon tea compared to 29% who regularly drink hot beverages. “Making items like cakes, biscuits or sweet pastries visible at the bar during the quieter afternoon period should offer a very tangible reminder and proof of the quality of their offering,” he said.
Mintel estimates sales of ordinary tea bags (typically English breakfast and Earl Grey) declined 14% between 2013 and 2015, while sales of specialty tea rose 8% (excluding green) with sales of herbals/tisanes up by 13%.