For many, it’s the first drink of the day, it’s refreshing and invigorating and a necessity to kick start the morning.

We can all put the kettle on, throw a teabag in a cup and add milk and sugar, but consuming a cuppa in a café or other venue should be a different experience to what can be made in the kitchen at home.

“It’s important that operators offer something a little different if they are to tempt the tea consumer, and they need to create an amazing tea event, with adventurous serving styles, encouraging them to try new blends,” says James Brett, Head of Shopper Marketing at Twinings Foodservice. “There’s been such a huge increase in competition in the tea space and businesses have the opportunity to really drive sales in this area by offering an extensive range of specialty herbal and fruit teas alongside the more traditional black and green options.”

Tea consumption has increased by 38% during lockdown (Nielsen), overtaking coffee, and taste is still the number one driver for purchase out of home (Allegra).

With consumers now driving the market towards a focus on health and wellbeing (24% intend to increase their tea consumption due to this according to Allegra), Twinings has responded with a new range for the foodservice sector – SUPERBLENDS.

Operators have an opportunity to create a premium tea serving using the range of SUPERBLENDS which provide a health benefit, from either a fruity or green tea base with an added vitamin or mineral to support health and wellbeing.

The new SUPERBLENDS range comprises SLEEP, GLOW, FOCUS AND DIGEST and to really leverage the range and drive cross sales, operators could promote a certain tea at different times of the day and add in a meal or snack to complement the drink.

FOCUS would be a perfect breakfast time tea; a mango and pineapple fruit tea with ginseng and added Vitamin B6 to help fight fatigue. An operator could create an amazing breakfast offer with a cup of FOCUS and a bowl of piping hot porridge to really start the day with a bang. Recent research from Allegra found that giving consumers an individualised, quality tea experience, just by letting them brew it exactly how they like it, generated around an extra £0.60p cash margin.

With 64% of industry professionals believing that the most important trend affecting tea beverages out of home is healthier consumption (Allegra) driven by the increasing range of herbal and fruit teas available, a fully displayed and prominently listed tea menu will encourage customer engagement.

The hot beverage category in the UK is worth £2.2bn, and showing growth, driven by an increase in volume sales over recent months (Kantar). The hot milky drinks category, which includes hot chocolate, now accounts for £186m of sales (+1.8%) with hot chocolate representing 68% of sales and an annual sales value of £126 million (Kantar). Within the category, brands continue to dominate, accounting for a huge 84% (or £106 million) of value sales (Kantar).

One in eight UK households bought Galaxy or Maltesers Hot Chocolate last year (Kantar).

Galaxy is the third largest hot chocolate brand and also the fastest growing, driven by 112 million Galaxy Hot Chocolate consumption occasions at home in the last year (Kantar).

With 28% of households owning a coffee pod machine (Mintel), hot chocolate pods are a growing segment within the hot milky drinks category, showing growth at 5.2% YOY and a value of £19m – accounting for 15% of the hot chocolate category (Kantar). Galaxy Hot Chocolate Pods are seeing value sales growing by 17% (Kantar).

Michelle Frost, general manager at Mars Chocolate Drinks and Treats, says: “Pods have proven really popular with consumers and continue to show growth ahead of the category. This continued innovation within the category is not at the cost of other hot chocolate products, but is attracting new millennial customers to the category.

“We know that consumers are keen to recreate different and delicious hot beverages at home, and pods were the natural format extension for our branded range.”

The range of Galaxy and Maltesers Hot Chocolate Pods is compatible with Dolce Gusto and is available now at an RRP of £3.79.

Galaxy remains the fastest growing brand in the hot milky drinks category at 16.8% YOY. The range of products includes Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate, Galaxy Hot Chocolate Pods, Galaxy Light, Galaxy Frothy Top and Galaxy Drinking Chocolate.

Michelle Frost adds: “Our hot chocolate range really does cater for everyone, whether a customer is looking for traditional, instant, malted, low calorie, or fuss free hot chocolate.

“To maximise sales, retailers should stock and merchandise a range of products from the recognisable Galaxy and Maltesers range together, to make the most of these highly recognisable, and fast growing brands – attracting customers of all ages to the hot beverages aisle.

“Hot chocolate is best displayed near tea and coffee. Give consumers a choice from a number of the core hot chocolate segments. For most impact, consider stocking instant hot chocolate, add milk and malted skus.” Chris Tough, Marketing Manager at Lincoln and York, comments: “Although life is getting back to normal, we believe many people will continue to work from home to some extent. With cafes and the out of home industry largely closed this has had a severe impact on all hospitality venues, not least for coffee specialists.”

The positive gains in the grocery retail category demonstrate that consumers’ appetite for great tasting coffee remains. While not a new trend, the current situation has accelerated trends that were already showing. Big growth in coffee beans have grown 35% and ground coffee 18% as people have replaced their morning ritual in the home (Kantar). Coffee bags have been the big winner, with the latest Kantar data with growth of over 40% with consumers looking for a fresh coffee without any additional equipment.

“With the novelty of cafes reopening, we have seen consumers treating themselves to having their coffees made for them again – not least to help their local coffee shop’s doors open. Either way, fresh coffee is having a moment and we expect to see sales and demand continue to grow in place of dried, instant varieties,” adds Tough. “We hear a lot about local being key and therefore the local pubs, independent coffee shops in out of city locations could thrive for the next 6-12 months.”

Later this year, Lincoln and York will be launching its own branded range of coffee, offering consumers access to some of the best varieties of coffee on the market that we are used to drinking from top coffee shops. Retail sales of Roast & Ground coffees are rocketing by +9.2% (value) year-on-year (Nielsen) as discerning shoppers are looking to replicate their coffee shop experience at home, a trend that has naturally accelerated during the current period when people have been unable to get their favourite serves out of home.

Adding to this trend, Cafédirect’s commitment to invest 50% of all profits into Producers Direct – a UK charity that works directly with farmers to improve sustainability and livelihoods, right across the coffee growing world – is resonating more strongly than ever with shoppers, who have an even keener sense of supporting brands that have a strong quality and ethical sourcing credentials.

As a result, retail sales of Cafédirect products are outpacing the fast-growing Roast & Ground category, with value sales up by +23.3% in the last year.

Lesley Parker, Brand Controller for Cafédirect at distributor RH Amar, comments: “Cafédirect’s simple message is providing a clear purchasing motivation for many retail shoppers and foodservice customers, whilst the brand’s commitment to introducing distinct new flavours from unique places – for example its new Single Origins Mayan Gold offering from Mexico (RRP: £4.50, 227g) – offers an opportunity to experiment with different flavours from around the world, whilst supporting growers directly in the process.”

Cafédirect is growing through the wholesale and independents channel and is offering wholesalers a number of promotions throughout the year, including 20% off promotions this Autumn across key lines. As well as providing retailers with a comprehensive range of Roast & Ground pouches in both Single Origins and Blends formats, Cafédirect has a whole suite of hot chocolate, tea and instant coffee products that are suitable for wholesalers looking to cater for both retail and foodservice customers.

Michelle Jee, Tetley Senior Brand Manager – Out of Home, comments: “7.1 million UK consumers like to try new or different hot beverages out of home, so the need to have a wider range or variety available to operators is vital to ensure they can offer the right range in their outlet.”

Research shows that 31.4 million cups of tea are consumed out of home on the average weekday, with this in mind it’s clear that tea is consumed widely across the UK and shows no sign of decline.

“Stocking tea brands consumers know and love, such as Tetley, will help drive footfall and encourage repeat visits to purchase,” adds Jee.

Consumers are continually exploring and trialing new hot beverage blends out of home, and expect operators to provide them with a selection of new flavours to choose from. Fruit and herbal tea continues to rise in popularity out of home with these blends experiencing 9.6% growth YOY (SalesOut). These uplifting and refreshing fruit blends appeal to consumers who are looking to lower their caffeine intake or who are looking for a non-black tea blend.

“With consumers becoming increasingly more health-conscious, not just in their choice of drink at home, but across all out of home locations, operators should clearly label the health benefits of different blends to help encourage purchase and meet this growing demand,” suggests Jee.

Consumers are opting for speciality blends more frequently, which are seeing a growth of +2.4% YOY (SalesOut). Tetley is meeting this new demand with the launch of the Super Tea Envelope range, available for the first time in foodservice in three flavours; Blueberry and Raspberry, Strawberry and Raspberry and Mango and Pineapple. This range offers fresh blends that deliver added nutritional benefits, from reducing tiredness to supporting healthy immune systems.

Each blend has their own individual benefits. Super Fruits Boost, which is flavoured with blueberry and raspberry, provides 33% of your recommended daily amount of essential vitamin B6. Super Green Tea Boost also delivers vitamin benefits along with a burst of strawberry and raspberry. Super Green Tea Immune is a smooth green tea blend with mango and pineapple flavours, rich in vitamin C to support the immune system.

With tea drinkers demanding more from their traditional brew, the decaffeinated category has also seen growth of +10.1% YOY (SalesOut). Tetley recently launched its latest decaffeinated solution, exclusively available to foodservice operators, Decaf Envelopes 200’s.

Now available in string and tag envelope format, the blend presents itself in a self–merchandising branded countertop unit, complementing the existing decaf solutions available from the brand; Tetley Decaf 25 Envelope Tea Bags and Tetley One Cup Decaf 440’s.

Helen Boulter, Multi Sector Sales Controller at Taylors of Harrogate, comments: “Decaf tea is seeing consistent strong growth as shoppers are seeking caffeine-free, healthier options. Yorkshire Tea Decaf is an essential listing and presents an opportunity to drive growth and add value to the category.”

Roast and ground coffee is in growth, and Taylors of Harrogate is the number one brand in ground coffee (IRI), with lines such as Rich Italian Ground Coffee 227g.

Game-changing coffee bags bridge the gap between instant and roast and ground coffee and are in 66.9% value growth in the latest 12 weeks in grocery retail, with Taylors of Harrogate Coffee Bags driving 70% of this growth (IRI & Kantar). Each Taylors of Harrogate coffee bag contains fresh, roast and ground coffee and is individually wrapped to lock in freshness and flavour. Coffee bags work just like a tea bag, brewing in just two minutes, meaning that coffee drinkers don’t have to prioritise ease over quality. 30% of coffee bags’ growth is through new shoppers entering the coffee category (IRI & Kantar).

“Black tea is a staple of British life and is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity with sales up 12.8% vs 9.6%% for the wider hot beverages category,” says Des Kingsley, CEO of Typhoo Tea Ltd.

With people spending more time at home due to COVID-19, millions of consumers have rediscovered their love of a traditional cuppa and Typhoo has been working hard to ensure enough product is available to meet the surge in demand.

“We have a solid base of consumers already buying into the brand,” adds Kingsley. “The next stage in Typhoo’s journey is to re-engage shoppers using a campaign that reinvigorates our bold personality, which was historically always laden with British humour and satire. The plans we are putting in place will not only keep those consumers buying more but will bring new shoppers into both the brand and the hot beverages category.”

The range comprises variants to suit all customers with a range of pack sizes to suit all retail outlets. Typhoo uses tea from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms that have environmentally and socially responsible practices.

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