Tea sales in the out-of-home coffee shop market are worth £308 million, according to the latest report in the Project Café UK Series by Allegra World Coffee Portal. Sounds good, right?

What if we tell you that that only accounts for 3.8% of the total coffee shop market turnover and that that figure has dropped from 4.1% in 2015? It’s less impressive now, right?

As such, coffee is overwhelmingly more popular in the out-of-home market compared to tea. However, that’s not to say that we don’t still love tea as a nation.

165 million cups of tea are said to be consumed every day in the UK. The problem is, the majority of tea is consumed at home or at work. Consumers drink an average of 9 cuppas per week at home, 3 cuppas per week at work but just 0.65 cuppas per week in coffee shops.

The reason for this is that we Brits simply prefer tea the way we make it for ourselves. Almost a third of participants in the Allegra World Coffee Portal consumer survey said that coffee shops don’t make cuppas to suit their taste. After all, who hasn’t argued over when to put the milk in?

Nevertheless, there is a huge opportunity for growth in the tea out-of-home market when it comes to speciality tea. Almost two-thirds of consumers consider a premium brand to be the most important factor when ordering tea out of home and more than half of consumers indicated that they are happy to spend more on a premium tea brand.

Furthermore, two-thirds of tea drinkers would like to see specialised tea chains on the high street. In 2013, Starbucks launched Teavana Tea Shops in the United States so it is likely that a similar concept will be seen in the UK very soon.

In recent years, we have seen consumers becoming more health-conscious and as such, they are looking for healthier beverage choices and at the same time, they are being more adventurous with their choices by seeking out exciting new flavours to try.

This shift in behaviour has seen sales of fruit and herbal infusions rise, as people turn to caffeine-free options, providing a profit opportunity for those in the foodservice sector. In fact, recent research by Nielsen suggests that sales of fruit and herbal teas have grown by 10.4%.

And so, the moral of the story is, you should consider developing your menu to include exotic flavours and speciality teas to reflect this market category growth……….