Tesco swaps black tea for trendy blends in range revamp

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Pukka Blackcurrant Beauty

Pukka was the big winner in Tesco’s tea shakeup

Tesco has overhauled its hot drinks range by adding a raft of on-trend infusions and flavoured teas, as shoppers continue to eschew traditional black tea.

The shake-up sees cuts to black tea lines by PG Tips and Typhoo, while Pukka, Twinings and Pure Leaf, the organic brand launched earlier this year by Unilever, all gain shelf space. Pukka has been the biggest winner, adding 11 lines including Blackcurrant Beauty, Ginseng Matcha Green and Motherkind Pregnancy [Brand View w/e 1 August 2017].

Tesco confirmed the shake-up as the latest stage of “introducing excitement” to the hot beverages aisle, as it prioritises healthier and more premium options.

The 16 delistings and 33 new listings come as consumers abandon traditional black tea in favour of flavoured and functional variants, as well as green, fruit and herbal infusions. A new Mintel report shows competition from on-trend alternative teas last year chipped away at standard black tea’s role as people’s “go-to day-to-day drink” - and its decline is set to continue.

Tesco’s decision to expand its tea offer beyond traditional varieties would “appeal to younger shoppers in particular, who are the biggest drinkers of herbal and fruit teas as well as speciality and flavoured black teas”, Mintel food & drink analyst Anita Winther told The Grocer.

“NPD from both small specialist brands and the leading players has supported this growth by injecting newness to the market and helping to fuel mainstream visibility.”

The loss of two listings for PG Tips – for its 100g Earl Grey Tea Bags and 100g English Breakfast Tea Bags – marks further misfortune for the brand in Tesco, which dropped its green, fruit and herbal infusions earlier this year. PG Tips has now lost around 20 listings with the supermarket in the past 12 months.

However, owner Unilever claimed this was “part of business as usual”. A spokeswoman added: “In terms of our broader tea portfolio, we’ve seen an increase in other tea SKUs, including our new Pure Leaf range.”

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