Is there a tea revolution?

Is there a tea revolution?

The industry is facing a tea revolution with young people, particularly women, driving tea consumption in the UK, the National Tea Day Modern Tea Trends 2019 report, has revealed. 

It said that the appetite for mass-produced low-quality products is weakening whilst premium tea is on the rise. The recent history of tea has been “whitewashed” by rumours of “declining consumption and archaic image”, it said.

“Much as there has been a coffee revolution, a craft beer revolution and even an organic food revolution there is now a tea revolution taking place,” the report said.

“As with these other industries consumers are interested in quality products with a great story and values which match their own.”

In its survey of 50 tea brands it found that half (50%) saw the 24 to 35-year-old segment as their biggest growing demographic, followed by 25% that highlighted the 35 to 45-year-old age group.

The majority of tea companies (69%) said growth was being driven by female drinkers, with only 12% saying growth was from male drinkers, while 19% did not know.

For 80% of brands, health and wellness was seen as a key factor in driving sales. This was followed by premiumisation by 33%, tea as an ingredient by 27%, tea and food pairing and increased demand - both at 20%.

The report also surveyed consumers and found that they would be prepared to pay £5 for a speciality tea, £4.20 for an iced tea in bottle format served in a glass with garnish, £3.50 for Matcha Latte, £2.20 for herbal tea and £1.85 for breakfast tea.

There is also a "huge generational” disparity between tea drinkers, with traditionalists associating tea with a ‘builders brew’, while the modern consumer sees it as a sensory experience. Traditionalists see tea as "comforting", "creamy" and "sweet" while modernists see tea as "healthy", "colourful" and "sensual".

Marco Geraghty, National Tea Day founder, said: “What we are seeing is a complete shift in consumer behaviour. Drinkers are buying less poor quality teas and opting for premium offerings, a shift which is transforming the tea industry into a dynamic trade with bags of room for growth. 

“The move is driven by consumer demand for great quality products with added health benefits – including anti-oxidants and amino acids - but drinkers are also viewing tea as less of a routine based beverage and more of an experience led drink.”

Diaz Ayub, National Tea Day founder and tea futurist, said: “New brands are emerging by the week, and with them bringing new ideas and new products to the market. With this consumers are building direct relationships with brands with a genuine focus on embracing products which are sustainable and have a story.”


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