Are Britons losing their taste for tea?

IT HAS always been regarded as the British answer to everything from tired feet to bereavement. But now the traditional cup of tea is in danger of being overwhelmed by lattes, cappuccinos and herbal infusions.

In the past two years, sales of traditional tea bags have fallen by 16 per cent and loose tea by 9 per cent. The tea market, worth £707 million in 1999, fell to £623 million last year.

Much as the market for coffee here in the States had been greatly impacted by the rise of fizzy drinks, so too in the UK. Here, however, the growth of specialty coffee has come to the rescue of our cup of Joe… across the pond, it’s yet another interloper at tea-time.

Just the same, the prescription reads familiar…

Ellen Shiels, the senior market analyst at Mintel, said: ?There is a need by manufacturers to make traditional tea more of a fashionable beverage. The tea market has become more segmented, trying to be many things to more people.?

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