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The future of tea: The biggest consumer trends to look out for in 2019

By Adrianna Johns on 5th February 2019

It is of no surprise that tea is a favourite in the UK, with 165 million cups being drunk on a daily basis by more than 51 million avid drinkers; this means that approximately 2000 cups are being drunk every second. This fascination does not seem to be slowing down considering that the value of tea within the UK foodservice market has been increasing constantly.

There was impressive growth in the value of tea between 2015 to 2017 as the rate grew by 13.6 per cent, demonstrating a strong indication that this year will continue seeing an increase.

As we interact more with brands, it is simpler to pinpoint the more tasteful and beneficial teas available in the market, and with a new wave of tea drinking flowing through society, the online consumer marketplace pulled highlights from ‘The Tea Report’, generated by Tetley, in order to reveal the top 4 major trends that will be shaping 2019.

It is of no surprise that tea is a favourite in the UK, with 165 million cups being drunk on a daily basis by more than 51 million avid drinkers

Tea with a purpose

Noting that the health and wellness trend has been growing in popularity in recent years, consumers are becoming more aware of ingredients and supplements that can provide nutritional benefits. Due to this, the demand for functional food and drinks that contain an enhanced amount of health benefits is predicted to have an annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent by 2022.

With 1 in 2 Brits consuming vitamins on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is not surprising that consumers are beginning to look for drinks that can offer them an uplifting energy pick-me-up or a way to relax and unwind. From natural ingredients such as turmeric to added protein, consumers are on the lookout for functional beverages that are appealing and ready-to-go.

As the study suggested, in order to meet the increasingly busy lifestyles of focused consumers, operators should expand their hot beverage menus to accommodate the changing tastes of consumers by adding healthier and natural energy boosting options that are ready to grab on the go.

Innovative flavours

With consumers demanding more natural and ethical ingredients, new product launches are on the rise in order to satisfy buyers. Avid tea drinkers are searching for more naturally friendly drinks with earthy flavours, such as turmeric, ginger, matcha and cumin, while some tea drinkers would certainly enjoy the refreshing and complex flavour of hibiscus tea. Beneficial ingredients containing bold flavours such as those previously mentioned will continue to gain popularity throughout the year.

With a surprising growth in popularity, chai tea has risen by 93.8 per cent, making it one of the most appreciated tea blends to date, and with the added benefits of boosting heart health, reducing blood sugar levels, aiding digestion and giving a helping hand in weight loss, it isn’t surprising to see how this has quickly become a favourite amongst avid tea drinkers.

With fruitier and healthier options, the world of tea is becoming more exciting than ever before

New Sensations

The drink of choice for many in the UK has evolved over the last few years and has become more than just a hot beverage. There has been an increase in popularity in cold brews and the matcha tea obsession has led to an innovative movement; leaving behind the traditional roots of tea and turning it into something exciting.

With kombucha becoming an exciting addition to the global market, it is expected to experience impressive growth by 2021, causing new sensorial experiences for tea drinkers to discover. No matter what adventurous tea you find yourself enjoying, health remains an important factor, making this category of tea extremely desirable and worth trying.

With 7.1 million UK consumers eager to try new or different types of hot drinks out of the home, it is clear that we are becoming more adventurous with taste as the years go by. A few years ago green tea and matcha tea were not as popular as they are today, however, nowadays these two are blends that consumers are willing to pay more for, and considering that consumers have learned to appreciate the taste, they are being drunk more frequently than they were 12 months ago. One year later and now 29 per cent of consumers are expecting themselves to drink more green tea in order to feel healthy.

The study shows that consumers are indeed becoming more daring with tastes and brands as 49 per cent of participants stated that they have seen new types of tea and proceeded to try them within the last 12 months.

With fruitier and healthier options, the world of tea is becoming more exciting than ever before, meaning that younger consumers are also being targeted therefore driving the rate of purchase to a new level.

Tea contains antioxidants which can help slow down aging and help your cells to regenerate and repair

Tea reimagined

In an age where society is indulging in the digital age and being consumed by social media, it is not surprising to learn that consumers are capturing everything they do, taste, see and experience and sharing it with their friends, families and ‘followers’. Surprisingly, however, the study found that consumers are more likely to drink tea at home, with 34 per cent per cent saying that they prefer to consume it in their comfort zone.

Staying optimistic, this could mean that there is an ‘opportunity for the foodservice sector to convert these valuable customers’ into exploring the world of tea outside their homes. In order to do this, quality of serve is key, considering that many of these consumers need to be satisfied that the tea they purchase elsewhere is better than the one they make at home, and with 14 per cent of the participants saying that in their experience it is significantly better out of home, there is potential to improve this.

The new café culture

With the love for cafés continuing to grow, it is not surprising to hear that coffee shops are predicted to outnumber pubs by the year 2020. Within five years, the ‘market rose by 37 per cent, increasing by an impressive £1 billion to £3.4 billion in sales in 2016’. As the love for the café culture grows, so does the love and need for tea, with a 7.4 per cent increase in value growth within this sector.

There are many reasons to appreciate a café pitstop, with 34 per cent agreeing that it is the perfect location to relax and take a break from work, or to quench your thirst and 35 per cent socialising. Whichever reason is yours, the shared goal is to enjoy a delicious cup of tea, whether that be chai, green, peppermint or the beautifully traditional brew.