Furious tea drinkers have slammed Twinings for changing the taste of its Earl Grey and are demanding the company reinstate the old version.
Twinings has been attacked by consumers after revamping its Earl Grey in April this year by adding extra bergamot and citrus to the blend and renaming it The Earl Grey.
An article on the Twinings website that asked drinkers for their views on the new blend has received more than 150 responses the majority negative.
Among the comments were: "It is vile. I shan't be buying any more of it"; "What on Earth were you thinking of?"; and "Why would you want to change something that was already perfection?"
Some consumers said they were seeking out boxes of the old blend left on supermarket shelves, while others have set up a Facebook group called 'Bring back the original Twinings Earl Grey tea'.
Twinings said it conducted extensive market research before changing the product, and claimed the decision to do so was prompted by calls for a more refreshing blend. "As with all changes to blends, our new Earl Grey has undergone rigorous consumer testing, receiving strong preference feedback over the previous blend," said Twinings brand manager Lindsey Williams.
Despite the complaints, sales of Earl Grey are now higher than before the new blend was introduced. Volume sales soared from 57,976kg in April to 87,123kg in May immediately after the revamp when the tea bags were on promotion and dropped back to 63,070kg in the four weeks to 9 July [SymphonyIRI].
Twinings misses out on £11m EU grant (6 June 2011)
Twinings freshens up its Earl Grey offering (16 April 2011)