Sales of green tea – once considered the next big thing in beverages – have dropped 2.6% over the past year, new TNS Worldpanel data has revealed. 

Green tea sales stood at £12m for the year ending 15 June, representing a 0.8% share of the total hot beverages market by value.

Though UK consumers drank the equivalent of 258 million cups of green tea over the period, this equated to just 0.5% of the total market by volume. By contrast, more than 30 billion cups of regular tea were drunk over the year.

The news will come as a disappointment to the likes of Tetley and Unilever’s PG Tips, which have tried to take green tea into the mainstream with new ranges. 

The research confirmed that the £1.42bn hot beverages sector continued to be dominated by instant coffee and standard tea brands.

However, fruit and herbal teas maintained market share with sales remaining relatively flat at £48m to account for 3.4% of the market. 

The overall hot beverages category has grown 4% over the past 12 months, with 98% of British households purchasing from the category.

The findings come after Tesco last week courted controversy by giving away packs of Tetley tea in a promotional drive at more than 250 of its stores. The retailer was accused of “cheapening” the category, with Yorkshire tea brand manager James Prentice, claiming: “Promotions like these drive the value of tea down. It’s worth less every time.”

Tesco, however, said the move was intended to boost tea sales.