>>How one of 2004's top launches is faring

Product: Tetley Plus tea bags
Company: Tetley
Launch date: February 2004

Tetley last year decided to transform its struggling Tea:Therapy brand into Tetley Plus - a three-strong collection of tea-and-herb combinations.

The new line was based on bringing together the best of Tea:Therapy with the attraction and appeal of a premium fruit and herbal tea, a sector which has shown strong growth in recent years.

Packaged in resealable canisters aimed at preserving freshness, taste and aroma, Tetley Plus hit shelves last February.

However, the newcomer, which includes a calming, uplifting and wellbeing offering, has so far failed to make a significant mark on the market.

Tetley Plus has captured only a 1.3% share of the £45.8m speciality tea market, a proportion that translates to £584,000 in value [ACNielsen, MAT to April 2005].

“I think Tetley will struggle to establish with these niche products. Tetley is too well known for mainstream volume tea brands and is not associated with speciality teas,” said Musgrave Budgens-Londis trading manager Steve Uglow.

“Although, in my view, the products had good marketing support, our sales never reached a satisfactory level and we have delisted all formats from both the Budgens and Londis fascia.”

A key issue seems to be getting people to try the brand, with only 1.7% of ACNielsen’s consumer panel having tried it. Repeat levels have proved slightly better, with 28% of those coming back for more. Still, Tetley insists that, compared with its predecessor, the new range has been a success.

According to the tea giant, sales of Tetley Plus increased 198%, a growth of 71% in value, in the six months to December 25, 2004, compared with sales of Tea:Therapy for the same period the previous year.

“The consistent level of sales and steady growth of Tetley Plus shows that we judged the market correctly and we expect the popularity of the range to continue to grow at a steady pace,” said customer marketing controller Simon Attfield.