This article is part of our 2016 Hot Beverages digital feature

Tea is struggling right now. Sales are down 4.7% on volumes down 2.1% as consumers move away from an everyday brew to something more exciting [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 22 May 2016]. So, what does the future hold for the tea market? We’ve asked some of the nation’s biggest brands to read the tea leaves and find out. Here are their predictions…

Peter Dries
Tetley director of customer & shopper marketing

sarah cook - pukka

Sarah Cook
Pukka Herbs, head of marketing for tea

Rebecca Vercoe
Clipper brand controller at Wessanen UK

PD: “We are right at the beginning of a major shift in the tea market. With changing consumer lifestyles and an increased focus on health comes opportunity for new tea formats and teas with a much stronger fit with health. The fast adoption of products such as our Tetley Supers range shows that consumer attitudes to the role of tea are shifting and that shoppers are looking for more from their tea experience. These shifts in consumer mindset  have the power to bring new consumers into the tea category. At the same time, changes in the tea landscape need to be accompanied by a more balanced approach from retailers to range, promotion and pricing, get it right then the market for tea has a real opportunity to return to growth.”

SC:  “Herbs that many people have never heard of will become commonplace as consumers turn to alternative, natural solutions to support a healthy lifestyle or address a specific health concern. Additionally, an increasing awareness and desire for provenance and transparency from both millennials and baby boomers will drive demand for natural and ethical solutions to wellbeing. So much so that in 20 years time we predict a world where nearly half of the food and drink we consume in the UK is organic and/or ethically traded. Technology will help us to ensure that we can see where a specific herb or tea was sourced from, meaning that no one can hide from unethical business practices, transforming the supply chain.”

RV:  “We predict that consumers will drink lower volumes of tea in the future but will be happy to pay more for quality and blend personalisation; we will see easier navigation at fixture and online, encouraging exploration and adventure among the category; a bog-standard cup of tea will become a thing of the past. Consumers will buy the majority of their tea online, remotely re-ordering when they run out, and will be able to blend their own unique cup of tea to match their individual tastes. This will lead to even greater experimentation with new ingredients, new blends and new flavours. Shoppers will also demand that tea manufacturers can demonstrate a commitment to responsible and transparent supply chains.” 

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