Hot to trot

Tetley Tea range

It’s that time of year again when hot drinks come into their own, and retailers are spoilt for choice when it comes to high quality tea lines to tempt their shoppers with.

The world may have gone coffee mad in the last five years or so but Scotland remains staunchly loyal to the traditional cuppa. Tea remains a massive category, accounting for sales of over £0.5bn annually [Nielsen, Jan 2017] with around £33m of that going through convenience. The average tea drinker will slurp their way through an astonishing 66,000 cups in their lifetime!

But even in a category as traditional as tea, evolution still occurs and Tetley, the runaway category leader in Scotland, predicts that by 2027 non-black tea will be as popular as black tea. Speciality teas are growing and they are growing fast so it’s important retailers take note.

Whether it’s a strong breakfast brew at home to kick-start the day, or a refreshing cuppa in the office mid-afternoon, there are several reasons for Scottish shoppers to pick up a box of their favourite teabags from their local store,” says David Rich, Channel Business Manager UK & Ireland for Twinings. “However, for the 84% of the population who are loyal tea drinkers [UK Tea & Infusions Association], there’s never been more choice to meet the changing taste of their favourite tipple, with an explosion in flavoured, speciality and healthy teas.”

Of course, it’s not just tea that is driving growth in sales of hot drinks with everything from coffee, pods and chocolate to the oxymoronic cold hot drinks liked iced coffee playing their part. What that means is that the hot drinks fixture is becoming increasingly complex to range, merchandise and manage.

A good rule of thumb however, is to follow the simple advice offered by Tetley: 67% of tea sales come from the top four brands – Tetley, Scottish Blend, Twinings and Yorkshire Tea – so focus an equivalent amount of space on them and you won’t go wrong.

Market Trends

It’s worth noting that the value of total tea sales in the UK declined by 3.6% in convenience [Nielsen, Jun 2017] but that was driven more by deep-cut price discounting on standard tea rather than falling volume sales.

However, it is the emerging category of premium tea – incorporating speciality, green and infusions – which is driving value back into the market. Premium teas account for 10% of tea sales in convenience, with speciality tea growing by 1.6% and flavoured green teas by over 20% annually [Nielsen, Aug 2016].

The trend for premiumisation, which was first observed in the coffee sector, is now being witnessed in the tea category with consumers no longer accepting of a bland, value teabag in their drink.

Top 4 tea brands in Scotland
  • Tetley – 41%
  • Scottish Blend – 13%
  • Twinings – 7%
  • Yorkshire Tea – 6%

Source: Nielsen, Jun 2017

Range & Merchandising Advice

The key varieties in the sub-sectors are as follows and this advice should be used to help range your fixture:

  • Two best-selling Speciality Black teas: English Breakfast and Earl Grey
  • Two best-selling Green Teas: Pure Green and Green & Lemon
  • Two best-selling Herbal Infusions: Pure Peppermint and Pure Lemon & Ginger

According to Twinings, retailers should lay out their tea fixture according to sectors, separating out standard and premium teas. Within premium teas, retailers should merchandise all speciality, green and infusions packs in individual blocks making it easy for shoppers to find what they want.

Typhoo joins Ethical Tea Partnership

Typhoo Tea, the second largest tea producing company in the UK, is helping to improve the lives of tea workers worldwide by joining the Ethical Tea Partnership, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to achieve lasting positive change in the tea sector. The move is aimed at further improving the sustainability of tea production and the lives of tea workers across the industry.

“At Typhoo, our commitment to sourcing responsibly in an ethical and safe manner is of high importance, says Somnath Saha, CEO of Typhoo Tea. “We take pride in knowing where our tea is from, how it is plucked and the working/living conditions of our workforce and aim to help transform and protect the lives of children and young people living in tea communities”.