The Brits are rightly famous around the world for their love of a quick cuppa, but the take-home hot beverages market is struggling: in the past year, it was down a slight 0.5% to £1.3bn.
What's going on? With more people quenching their thirst on the move, the hot beverages category continues to face stiff challenges from the growth in cold soft drinks, combined with the increasingly popular café culture epitomised by the likes of Starbucks.
Standard instant coffee and tea still dominate the market in terms of value. However, growth in both sectors is flat. Nescafé Original kept its top spot but sales fell by 3.8%. In all, eight of the top 20 brands were down, including Tetley, Horlicks, Typhoo, Kenco Rappor and Cadbury Highlights, as well as both the Kenco and Nescafé decaffeinated offerings.
On the plus side, price increases and higher availability of speciality products - an arena that continues to grow on the back of consumers' ever more adventurous taste buds and thirst for healthier products - have helped drive up value. Speciality and ground coffee, fruit and herbal teas, together with hot chocolate, are the drivers, with Twinings in particular reaping the benefit.
Malted drinks have struggled to overcome their old-fashioned image but hot chocolate has benefited from the industry trend towards luxury and indulgent products. With manufacturers eager to make the most of the thirst for posh offerings, there has been considerable activity.
Nestlé's Aero brand became the latest confectionery brand to join the mix, while upmarket chocolate brand Green & Black's also made an entrance into the indulgent end of the market with an organic hot chocolate drink. Meanwhile, Cadbury took its hot drinks back in house and put its hot chocolate back on TV.
Despite some commentators repeatedly sounding the death knell for tea, PG Tips and Tetley remain the second and third biggest hot beverage brands respectively.
The former had a very good year, overtaking its arch rival, thanks to limited edition Wallace and Gromit and 300-year anniversary packs. It grew 4% year on year, in sharp contrast to Tetley, which fell 2.2%.n
For further details of the research table methodology, please refer to guide on p52