There are two major trends - ethical products carrying the Fairtrade logo, and indulgent lines such as Taste The Difference Dark Drinking Chocolate.
Consumption of instant coffee and standard normal tea is declining, with customers switching to speciality, herbal and green teas, as well as ground coffees. There is a lot of innovation in coffee - both Café Switch and Dolce Gusto launched recently - but not as much in tea.
No individual launches have stood out this year but espresso coffees such as Illy and Lavazza had a phenomenal rate of growth. Customers are looking for the out-of-home experience and are trying to replicate coffee house drinks at home.
PG Tips' added value promotions - a Wallace and Gromit mug and the brand's 300-year anniversary caddies - did well, as did Twinings' giveaway on English Breakfast and Earl Grey teas. I was surprised how well the Twinings caddies went; we sold way over our forecast, and I assume customers loved the design.
The weather affected the category during the summer. Hot beverage sales were slower - although, in compensation, we broke all records on bottled water.
We've seen some inflation this year because of raw material price rises - for example, the drought in Kenya drove up tea. At the same time, we've seen some deeper deals on instant coffee, which have driven the category forward. I would like to see suppliers focus their efforts on understanding what customers want to drink and how they want to buy it.