Bringing a whole new meaning to tea total,  new research from Mintel reveals as many as two thirds (62%) of tea users view tea as a good alternative to having alcohol on a night in. Demonstrating how tea could be well placed to benefit from declining alcohol consumption – even 63% 16 -24 year olds agree this is a good alternative to a drink of the stronger variey.  

2013_Mintel_hi-resTea remains a high-penetration category, with over four in five consumers having drunk it in 2014, despite competition from other drinks in recent years. Meanwhile, over half of consumers have drunk hot chocolate and almost a third malted drinks.

Despite tea’s popularity, sales continue their long-term decline. Value sales are estimated to fall to £663 million in 2014, and volumes down to 85 million kg, in part because of a more clement forecast for the summer but also because the category faces competition from other drinks sectors. Meanwhile, the hot chocolate and malted drinks sector is forecast to see sales fall to £153 million and 20 million kg. NPD (New Product Development) in malted drinks remains limited as does advertising support in hot chocolate, despite the boost provided by Cadbury Wispa in 2013.

In tea, manufacturers including PG Tips and Taylors of Harrogate continue to launch products into the fast-growing fruit/herbal and green tea segments in 2014, expected in part help to offset lower sales of standard tea.

The research reveals just how hard it can be to make a perfect cuppa, as many as 12% of Brits claim that it is hard to scoop teabags out of the mug neatly. Meanwhile, one in twenty (6%) say it takes too much time to make tea using teabags and 16% complain that tea take too long to make at breakfasttime during the week.

Five in seven tea drinkers see tea as a good option to prevent hunger between meals, suggesting an opportunity for brands to pitch tea as a snack alternative.

Towards the future, the total market is expected to grow by 8% to £882 over 2014-2019, reflecting rising average prices at retail. Volumes are predicted to fall by 7% over the period, to stand at 99 million kg.

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