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Britain is world famous as a nation of tea drinkers, but coffee is set to take over as our top hot beverage. Claire Williams, Group Marketing Manager at Caterforce, the foodservice buying & marketing consortium, says that in the last two years, the number of coffee shops has grown by just under 10%. She quotes Mintel’s report that over the next five years shop sales are forecast to increase by a further 29%, reaching a staggering £4.3 billion:

“With such a huge rise in coffee shops, there is potential we could see them outnumber pubs across Britain by 2030.”

Meanwhile tea remains the nation’s favourite cuppa with 45.1% volume share and 18.5 billion servings a year, ahead of coffee on 30.5% volume share and 11.9 billion servings, says, owners of the Tetley brand.

Reading the leaves, the tea category has been changing for some time, marked by growing interest in nonblack teas, which now account for 21.2% of tea volume. Peter Dries, Director of Customer And Shopper Marketing, Tata Global Beverages has been following the trend:

“Our evolving lifestyles and preoccupation with healthy living have created space for new products which offer different taste experiences to shoppers and bring higher value sales to retailers.”

Tata’s research shows repertoire tea drinkers who drink different kinds of tea are important to cater to, as they drink more tea, more often. Of all those buying hot beverages, research shows tea buyers are more likely to buy complementary products such as milk, bread, cakes and biscuits, as well as cakes and pastries for on the go purchases.

Tata advise that better returns will come from a strong black tea offering complemented with a decaf option, balanced by a mix of non-black teas: “Decaf drinkers won’t choose an alternative, so if one isn’t available, a sale won’t be made. Decaf consumption is growing among retirees, pre-family shoppers and purchasers after seven pm.”

Tetley is the dominant decaf brand in convenience with a 60.4% share. Tea’s good fit with health continues to be a draw:

“Tea shoppers are often looking for something a little bit different, a different taste experience or products that meet their desire for health. Fruit and herbal, green, and Redbush are all up in value. Fruit, Herbal and Green are up in volume too.”

Tetley is the number two green tea brand, with 31.1% share in Impulse and the dominant player in Redbush. It has two of the big four Green SKUs, Tetley Green 20s and Tetley Green and Lemon 20s. Tetley Pure Green 50s and Tetley Super Green Boost Berry Burst 20s with vitamin B6 are also among the top 10 best sellers.

With more and more shoppers keen to take additional vitamins through their diet, functional food and drink with added vitamins has become a major trend. Tetley has a suite of Tetley Super teas with added vitamins and EFSA-approved health claims, from Immune System support to reducing tiredness and fatigue. Spanning Green Tea, Fruit and Herbal and new Super Squash, the award-winning Tetley Supers range includes 20 variants with 7 different health benefits.

Teatime talk with Tetley

• Complement core black tea with a selection of other teas to suit your customers

• Stock the top sellers

• Block best-selling brands together and place teas in a logical sequence from every day black through to decaf, greens, fruit and herbals and speciality

• Signpost different types of tea and highlight anything new

• Offer a mix of pack sizes to cater to different shopper missions

• Demonstrate value with price marks and strike through pricing

• Leave room for higher value sales from products that can stand alone without further discount

• Keep on trend with products like functional teas and new cold infusions which meet the needs of health and hydration and appeal to younger buyers.

Out of home tea is another important area for the Tetley brand, says Marshall Kingston, Tetley Senior Brand Manager – Out of Home:

“Consumers like to try new or different hot beverages out of home, so it’s vital for operators to have a wide variety and offer competitive pricing that’s good value for money but also supply good quality tea.”

Marshall Kingston says 90% of operators who refreshed their tea menus in the last three years experienced a sales increase, demonstrating the need for a variety of teas on hot beverage menus. With health high on the agenda, customers are demanding more from their brew than ever before, contributing to the growth in mint, herbal and green teas, up 9.6% from 2016-2017.

In out of home, black tea remains a staple brew, amounting to 81.9% of category value with 75% of consumers choosing it in foodservice environments: “It’s vital to ensure brands are growing their businesses with innovative, new products to cater to growing demand, but it’s also crucial to supply consumers with much loved options.”

Tetley recently launched its new Super Tea Envelope range, available now in foodservice in three flavours, delivering added nutritional benefits from reducing tiredness to supporting healthy immune systems. Blends include Super Fruits Boost, Super Green Tea Boost and Super Green Tea Immune.

Tetley’s 2018 Tea Report reveals the food to go sector is now worth one third of all out of home spend and 29% of consumers are drinking more green tea than a year ago. Tetley is offering its Fresh Seal On The Go Cup in a green tea blend, in cases of 240 cups, each sealed for food safety, freshness and convenience. They feature a doublewalled functionality to keep the tea warm without the exterior getting too hot to hold, so no need for a traditional paper sleeve.

With café culture continuing to influence and excite consumers, Noel Clarke, Vice President Refreshments at Unilever UK, owners of the PG brand, believes tea brands need to evolve in order to keep up:

“Black tea accounts for 85% of category volume, with UK consumers drinking 50 billion cups every year. Fruit, green and herbal tea have been growing, but black tea presents the biggest opportunity.”

PG’s Perfect with Dairy Free appeals to those following free-from diets, while The Tasty Decaf offers a fresh and rounded taste, with less than 0.2% caffeine. In other innovations Unilever have switched their PG tips brand to 100% plant-based material. Pure Leaf, sourced from certified Rainforest Alliance estates around the world, offers a premium tea-drinking experience. Unilever expanded Pure Leaf last year by adding six new loose-leaf variants, offering a choice of authentic flavours from classic English Breakfast to Himalayan Darjeeling and Spiced Chai and are now introducing Matcha. Unilever’s new PG2Go features recyclable paper cups containing instant tea with milk powder, perfect for busy mornings, camping, festivals and tea on the move. with 50% of British holiday makers taking tea on holiday, Unilever are also launching PG Tips holiday packs.

Chai is an emerging flavour that has quickly gained popularity and become a must-have on hot beverage menus, says Amanda Hamilton, Founder & CEO, Drink Me Chai. Chai tea grew 43.8% in value between 2016-2017 and last year health and wellness was the overriding trend driving sales, with 80% of tea brands identifying this as a growth area.

To meet the demand for no added sugar menu items, Drink me Chai has launched the first naturally Sugar Free Chai Latte, providing the same intense flavour and health properties as Drink me Chai’s Spiced Chai Latte formula but without the sugar content. Like the rest of the Drink me Chai range, Sugar Free Chai Latte is easy to serve, simply blended with hot milk or milk alternative for a delicious beverage.

In other innovations, Drink me Chai has launched a new Matcha Latte as part of its popular Superblends range, which harnesses the natural health benefits of super-charged ingredients. There are five flavours, all free from caffeine and naturally vibrant in colour and 100% vegan: Turmeric, Raw Cacao, Beetroot, Naked Chai and Matcha Latte. Drink me Chai has also created an Artisan Blend with foodservice operators and caterers in mind, which is non-dairy and suitable for vegans, as well as gluten free. Available in a 1kg biodegradable resealable bag, the blend is easy to serve, mixed with hot milk of your choice for an intense flavour experience.


Nescafé, the world’s favourite coffee brand is introducing two new seasonal edition flavours to the UK this spring. Aromatic blends of Robusta and Arabica coffee with a generous milky froth make Nescafé Gold’s new seasonal editions Salted Toffee & Macadamia Mocha and Caramelised Honey Latte a delicious way to liven up coffee breaks this spring time.

Taka Ota, Senior Brand Manager, says: “Nescafé customers are adventurous types and love trying new flavours of their favourite coffee. We work really hard to bring them on trend and delicious seasonal edition Frothy Coffees, with Salted Toffee & Macadamia Mocha and Caramelised Honey Latte, it’s no exception.”

The two new seasonal editions join 15 other Nescafé Gold Frothy Coffees currently available in the UK and Ireland. All 17 Nescafé Gold Frothy Coffees are made at Nestlé’s factory in Dalston, Cumbria. Over the last decade, more than £70 million has been invested in the factory, which produces over 900 million sachets of frothy coffee every year for export worldwide. All milk used here is sourced locally from dairy farmers using cows raised in the surrounding countryside. Nestlé has owned the factory since 1962, and it has gone from producing milk powder and sweetened condensed milk to being home to Nescafé Gold Frothy Coffees, Coffee Mate and Aero Hot Chocolate.

Around 350,000 litres of high quality Cumbrian milk is delivered to the factory each day from nearby farms. Nestlé works closely with these dairy farmers through its First Milk partnership to help develop a more sustainable and efficient milk supply chain. This includes working with farms to reduce their environmental impact, maintain high levels of animal welfare and improve local biodiversity.

Coffee is a growth segment in the convenience sector at 2.5% YOY, with Instant making up the majority of sales, says Jeff Beedie – Head of Category and Channel Development at Lavazza UK: Lavazza hope to leverage Instant’s strength with the newly relaunched Carte Noire, which won ‘product of the year’ award for the Coffee Category in 2018. The range was launched in two variants, Carte Noire Classique Instant and Carte Noire Decafeine Instant, with SKUs including a 100g format in both regular and £3.99 PMP.

Before its withdrawal in 2016, Carte Noire instant coffee was worth £35m and a top five brand in value in Instant coffee. Its 100g SKU was also a top 5 SKU in the Convenience channel. Lavazza has ambitious to replicate this performance and grow the value of the brand to £42m, including £8m of further growth, over the next two years. “The UK coffee market is dramatically evolving,” says Jeff Beedie, “with suppliers taking on board consumer demand for excellent quality products.”

Premiumisation is also a key trend in the hot beverages sector with shoppers, such as millennials, looking for quality products and the desire to replicate their high-street experience. This may mean better quality within a segment such as instant coffee, exemplified by the launch of Carte Noire and the brand’s desire of accelerating premiumisation in hot beverages, and younger shoppers experimenting by entering the grounds and beans segment, replicating what they have seen in artisan coffee shops.

“Brand loyalty continues to be a driver in the hot beverages sector,” says Jeff Beedie. “Coffee is a destination category and over a quarter of coffee shoppers are driven to store, in particular to buy coffee.” During the period he says Carte Noire Instant was off the market, Lavazza received hundreds of messages via social media calling for the products’ return, “which exemplifies customers’ loyalty to brands and, in this case, coffee products.”

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year, says Karen Yates-Hills, Commercial Director, Lincoln & York, a leading private label coffee sourcing, roasting and packing specialist, whose white-labelled coffee is sold to 300 customers across UK & Europe.

Lincoln & York has been working behind the scenes since 1994, to deliver bespoke products to customers in the UK and EU. Lincoln & York won the Sunday Times International Track 200 in 2018 have grown 23% in the latest financial year, growing steadily since 2015 and more than doubling in the last three years.

According to recent data from Kantar Worldpanel, the UK coffee market is worth £6.5bn and continues to grow rapidly. Over three quarters of UK consumers have bought coffee out of home (OOH) in the last year and the average consumer buys a total of 95 cups of coffee every year, which translates to almost two per week. “It is clear that coffee continues to dominate the hot beverage industry, with consumer tastes changing rapidly. as a result we are seeing consumers opting for higher quality coffee which they are prepared to pay the price for.”

In the OOH market, Latte continues to reign supreme as the most popular way to drink coffee. While the Flat White grows in popularity with sales up nearly 50% year on year according to Allegra Project Café Report in 2019.

Lincoln & York recently launched ‘teabag style’ coffee bags designed for individual use, on-the-go, travel and hospitality sectors. As customers, consumers and millennials, continue to become increasingly health conscious, cold brew coffee has gained a lot of traction as it is the perfect healthy alternative to Iced Coffees. Their Black Eye Cold Brew has a naturally sweeter taste, without the sugar, which makes it ideal for adding new, summer beverage to the menu.

Martyn Bell, Category Marketing Manager Premium Coffee, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, says Latte remains the number one coffee menu choice with 53.7% of the market, followed by Americano at 24.1% and Cappuccino at 29.3%. However, flat white is the fastest growing beverage in coffee shops and cafés, with cold brew also growing fast, and operators should update their offerings to match.

Jacobs Douwe Egberts’ range covers Value (granules), Mainstream (freeze dried) and Premium (microgrind), with well-recognised brands Maxwell House, Kenco and Millicano. With 15% Roast and ground coffee, Millicano gives a high quality “filter” style coffee with the operational simplicity of instant coffee.

Martyn Bell says: “By highlighting their premium and mainstream instant coffees, wholesalers can encourage customers to trade up in quality. Taking advantage of the growth in barista style drinks, the Kenco instant cappuccino and latte products offer an opportunity to bring a moment of great tasting indulgence to locations with access only to a kettle.”

Karen Graham, Marketing Manager at Pioneer Foodservice says: “One of our hot beverage suppliers, Bruce & Luke’s Coffee, believes that what one generation does in moderation the next does in excess. The current style of coffee service has only been around since the mid-80s and Bruce & Luke’s think that the gates are wide open for the next growth spurt in the industry.

There was a transition from a consumer that was used to ordering ‘just a coffee’ to a ‘latte’. Looking ahead at trends, you will see more and more retailers add food and coffee options to what they are currently doing; from bike shops to food retailers, they are expanding their product offering to customers.”

Pioneer has worked with Bruce & Luke’s Coffee for approximately four years and in that time, sales have grown by 47%. The last few years have shown that coffee has become a footfall driving product and consumers will travel for a quality coffee. Translating this to foodservice, the hospitality industry is now looking for brand assurance to show their customers they serve quality cups of coffee.

Bruce & Luke’s recently added Cumbrian Coffee Co, a new range of coffees targeted at customers who wants a locally sourced, high-end product but doesn’t require all the training and attention that drives up costs. Bruce and Luke’s Coffee work directly with Pioneer’s customers, supporting on training, understanding their target coffee audience and providing POS.

Other drinks

As a nation, hot chocolate continues to play a huge role in our homes and hearts, says Michelle Frost, General Manager at Mars Chocolate Drinks and Treats. In 2018, UK households purchased over 60 million jars, pods and single serve sticks of hot chocolate. The total hot milky drinks category has an annual sales value of £123 million, says Michelle, with hot chocolate representing 69%. Within the category, brands continue to dominate, with 89% of value sales:

“We continue to innovate and develop our range of hot chocolates, by introducing new and exciting variants with products relevant to today’s consumers. Our range includes much loved confectionery brands Galaxy and Maltesers, creating on shelf appeal and a multitude of options for consumers and retailers alike. Consumers are keen to recreate different and delicious hot beverages at home, so we extended our range to include Galaxy Hot Chocolate and Maltesers Hot Chocolate Pods, offering a quick, easy and no fuss format, while bringing differentiation to the hot beverage aisle”

The pods hot drinks category has an annual sales value of £180m, says Michelle Frost, with 28% of households owning a coffee pod machine. Mars Chocolate Drinks and Treats’ formula of strong brands, and strong range of innovative products, has seen their hot chocolate range continue to grow, up 10.1%. Benefiting from an overall £12m Galaxy brand marketing spend in 2019, the star performer is Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate 370g, growing 15.4%.

Maximising Sales and Merchandising Michelle Frost, general manager at Mars Chocolate Drinks and Treats: “Hot chocolate is best displayed near tea and coffee. Offer choice from a number of the core hot chocolate segments for most impact, including instant hot chocolate, add milk, indulgent, malted and cocoa.”

When it comes to creating superior hot beverages that customers will love, ingredient quality should always be the first consideration for caterers, says Sarah Mendlesohn, Hot Beverages Brand Manager, Aimia Foods, who offer a range of hot chocolate drinks for foodservice applications.

As well as quality granulated milk, Milfresh offer wholesalers two delicious Fairtrade hot chocolate options, Milfresh Drinking Chocolate and Milfresh Instant Chocolate.

Specifically designed for foodservice, Milfresh hot chocolates give caterers and operators the chance to create fussfree, luxurious hot chocolates. Milfresh Drinking Chocolate delivers an indulgent out of home hot chocolate with a continental flavour profile.

Operators simply add milk to create a luxury hot chocolate that is taken to the next stepwith the addition of whipped cream or marshmallows.

For a ‘just add water’ hot chocolate solution, Milfresh Instant Chocolate is school friendly, ideal for educational establishments and venues with customers of varying ages such as cafes, universities and leisure centres. The UK granulated skimmed milk brand leader, Milfresh Gold is 100% dairy, providing a complete replacement for fresh milk with an authentic coffee-shop style taste. Operators can make approximately 415 Cappuccinos with just ten 500g bags of Milfresh Gold.

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