When it comes to young Brits, it seems that your average builder’s brew just isn’t their cup of tea. A new report from consumer analysts Mintel revealed that more than one-third of 25 to 34-year-olds favour flavour and have drunk five or six different blends of tea at home or work in the last month alone.
That’s not to say that 25 to 34-year olds don’t drink standard black tea because a huge 74% of them do. The difference is that 52% also indulge in fruit, herbal or spiced teas, compared to just 36% of other age groups; 51% enjoy slurping green tea, compared to 34%; and 50% gulp speciality black tea compared to a measly 17%.
Anita Winther, food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: "Consumers aged 25 to 34 have the widest repertoire of tea, which is reflective of this age group typically having a more adventurous attitude towards food and drink, with a greater tendency to seek out new foods and flavours to try.”
Indeed, 40% of young Brits aged between 16 and 34 are keen to know more about pairing tea with savoury food and 56% say flavoured teas are an excellent alternative to sugary drinks. High end restaurants in London are already serving handcrafted loose-leaf teas to diners and hiring tea sommeliers to advise them on the best food and tea pairings.
However, despite young people’s adventurous taste for tea, the volume of tea sales fell by five per cent last year. In fact, there are stormy times forecasted for tea sales, which are expected to fall by 13 per cent over the next five years.
But how could this be when the popularity of fruit and herbal teas is rising?
The problem is that 55% of people aged over 55 drink tea once a day or less because they simply prefer the taste of coffee and as such, coffee is significantly more popular in the out-of-home market.
Anna Winther said, "while coffee has successfully injected connoisseur, indulgent and on-trend elements to the category, tea continues to struggle to deliver the same experience. This poses a marked threat to the category.”
Nevertheless, in recent years the UK has seen an explosion in the green tea and fruit/herbal tea sectors which, according to Nielsen data, have grown at 19% and 7% respectively. This growth is driven by increasingly adventurous and health conscious customers who are moving away from the traditional brew.
We’ll likely never leave the builder’s brew completely – it got us through the war after all – but for now, consumers are interested in more premium products.