Restaurants urged to innovate on tea, as sales drop vs coffee

Tea sales drop compared to coffee says report

There are big opportunities for restaurants and food businesses to grow their tea and iced tea offers, as customers continue to choose coffee instead when eating and drinking out.

‘Out of home’ tea sales have declined in the past year from 4.1% in 2015 to 3.8% in the latest report, according to the Tea Out-Of-Home 2017 study from analysts the Allegra World Coffee Portal.

This was largely because a third of consumers said coffee shops ‘do not make a cup of tea to their taste’ and 22% saying that tea available out-of-home was ‘not good value for money’.

Consumers were found to still be drinking on average nine cups of tea a week a home, and three per day at work, but just 0.65 cups per week in coffee shops.

And while the UK coffee shop sector increased by 12% in turnover last year, to reach £8.9bn in 2016, just £308m of this came from tea sales.

Yet tea represents strong opportunity for growth, in particular as part of the growing trend towards healthier options, according to Allegra.

“In the long term, tea innovation will be driven by leading operators who are prepared to re-define the consumer experiences of tea out-of-home,” reads the report. “Allegra World Coffee Portal anticipates the category to continue similar growth in 2017 and reach £341 turnover by year-end.”

The report comes ahead of the London Coffee Festival, set to take place in the city’s Brick Lane from 6-9 April.

It also comes at a time of significant innovation and growth for coffee, with many independent brands such as Grind & Co and The New Black continuing to grow alongside big players such as Starbucks and Costa.

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