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With the hospitality sector set to re-open, and the café and coffee shop sector in particular seeking to make the most of outdoor and takeaway opportunities, it’s more important than ever before to make sure that you have a stand-out tea offering, emphasise the sector’s suppliers.

OOH insight

According to the Tetley Tea Report 2018, 7.1 million UK consumers like to try new or different hot beverages out of home, so offering a wide range in outlets is vital to ensure customer demands are met, feel the brand. Their research (TATA Tea Project 2019) also shows that 31.4 million cups of tea are consumed out of home on the average weekday, so with this in mind it’s clear that tea consumption is showing no sign of decline.

“Consumers are continually exploring and trialling new hot beverage blends out of home, and expect operators to provide them with a selection of new flavours to choose from,” says Michelle Jee, Tetley senior brand manager – out of home (www.tetleyfoodservice.co.uk).

“Fruit and herbal tea continues to rise in popularity out of home and is experiencing 9.6% growth YOY (Salesout 52 Week Rolling Data to 15 December 2019). Alongside this, our TATA Tea Project 2019 data revealed that 19% of consumers are ordering green tea out of home, and 14% are opting for fruit blends.

“These uplifting and refreshing fruit blends appeal to consumers who are looking to lower their caffeine intake or who are looking for a non-black tea blend. With consumers becoming increasingly more health conscious, operators should clearly label the health benefits of different blends to help encourage purchase.”

Tea drinkers are becoming progressively more adventurous in their choice of flavours and blends, and are also inclined to spend more money on their drinks as they seek out premium and healthier hot beverage options, the brand observe. To meet this growing trend, Tetley is therefore launching a new and improved enveloped tea range - now available in 100% recyclable packaging - and hygienically sealed for safety and freshness.

“The revived range is available in ten specially selected blends, including best-selling English breakfast, herbal variants including Fresh Mint and Lemon & Ginger, and a selection of fruity and green infusions; each full of flavour and bursting with natural freshness,” adds Michelle Jee.

“Presented in 100% recyclable packaging, the new range now features fully biodegradable tea bags, which remain completely plastic free. With research indicating that 42% of consumers are already actively choosing brands due to their environmental values (Deloitte Research 2020, Shifting sands: How consumer behaviour is embracing sustainability), it’s also becoming more important than ever for operators to seek sustainable food and drink solutions from their suppliers.

“As the hospitality sector starts to reopen and begins to take some normality again, hygiene and personal safety remain top priorities for all operators. Our range of individually wrapped enveloped teas are available in a variety of award-winning blends, making them ideal for a myriad of out of home catering environments and consumer taste preferences.

“With the product individually sealed for food safety, freshness and convenience, the Tetley Envelope range can help provide a fast and hassle-free solution with minimal product handling, supporting operators in prioritising hygiene and customer safety in their outlets and making it easier for consumers to self-serve when over the counter or table service is limited.”

Quality counts

There has been lots of concern about the effect reduced capacity will have on businesses, so with fewer people coming through your doors, it’s vital to have an offering that will work hard for you to maximise your profit, and your tea offering is a key part of that, advise the well known tea brand, teapigs.

Serving quality tea is the first step to increasing tea sales, they suggest. People are very happy to spend £3 on a good coffee in a café or restaurant because it’s different to the coffee they can make at home, whereas tea drinkers, on the other hand, aren’t as willing to pay for a cup of tea out of home if it’s going to be ‘just tea’ - a cheap paper bag with hot water – they point out.

However, the demand for premium, whole leaf tea out of home is on the rise, their research indicating that customers visiting cafés and restaurants in the coming months will be looking to treat themselves, and will in turn be expecting a higher quality beverage as a result, they observe.

teapigs, who have a range of more than thirty real, whole leaf teas available in different formats to suit a variety of hospitality and catering needs, have become known for their premium quality teas, having also placed emphasis on encouraging operators to be knowledgeable about the teas they serve. Their display jars, POS material and free tea school for staff and stockists have all been created to help cafés and coffee shops make the most of their teas, in the process helping to make it clear to potential customers that you’ve upgraded your tea offering, they add. 

teapigs was set up in 2006 by Nick and Louise who were on a mission to get the nation drinking real tea, Louise having been a professional tea taster for over 15 years, travelling the world to sourcing all sorts of teas. The result is a range of the very best quality teas you’ll find, claim teapigs, who only use whole leaf teas, whole berries and whole herbs and flowers. Importantly, in an increasingly sustainability-aware world, their teas come in biodegradable tea ‘temples’, roomy and biodegradable mesh bags that also give the tea leaves lots of room to infuse.

“A further trend we’ve noticed during the lockdowns is for people wanting to replicate the drinks they are served in the high street while at home,” says Louise Cheadle, teapigs co-founder and tea taster.

“People have been experimenting at home with fancy flavours and premium products so an impressive range is a must. This makes something like the matcha latte a must for the breakfast menu, for example. Our premium, organic matcha makes a lovely latte and by being able to charge £3.50 for one, matcha is undoubtedly the most cost-effective tea on your menu. 

“If you’re only serving takeaway, people aren’t going to be able to browse so you need to grab their attention fast! One thing I would certainly recommend investing in is your display. Customers won’t buy what they can’t see is on offer, so a simple tea menu describing what’s good about each tea will engage customers and drive sales.

“Other ways to make sure customers know what brand of tea you’re serving include having the tea jars in pride of place on your counter or bar, using point of sale such as posters or tent cards and even a simple A-board outside the venue that tells customers they are serving “award-winning tea or coffee” or that their tea of coffee is Rainforest Alliance certified or gives back to the community speaks volumes.

“Keeping up to date with the latest industry trends, recipes and flavours can be tricky, especially when the industry has taken such a hit recently. This is why we run free online tea schools for teapigs stockists everywhere to make sure your staff are fully fledged tea geeks. Anyone can also access our training videos on YouTube so there is plenty of info available to make sure everyone is trained up. You can only educate your customers by engaging and educating your staff first.”

Year-round popularity

“Whether it’s a pick-me-up in the morning, a peppermint tea after lunch or a speciality blend in the evening, Brits will always rely on tea to satisfy a certain need, and when it comes to cafés, it’s become clear that serving the bare minimum is simply not enough to meet demand,” agrees Karen Green, trade marketing manager for Aimia Foods (www.aimiafoods.com), who supply the Drink me Chai brand of chai-themed teas. 

“Consumer needs are constantly evolving and as a nation, we are attracted to on-trend, premium options which is why having a diverse, high-quality and visible tea offering is a prime opportunity to increase sales.

“Chai is one of the world’s oldest tea-based drinks. It originated in India thousands of years ago and has spread throughout the world over the past two centuries. Known for its fragrant yet gently spicy flavour, it’s no wonder a comforting cup of chai is proving so popular within the UK and our core demographic - 70% of our audience is aged 18-34, making Chai lattes an ‘on trend’ addition to any tea offering.”  

Drink me Chai is made with natural and authentic spices, and bursting with colour, flavour and aroma, say the company, the Drink me Chai Spiced Chai Latte recipe also delivers an indulgent, creamy texture too. Due to its distinctive, popular flavour profile, they have found that a lot of their customers are able to serve Chai Lattes all year round, whatever the weather.

Drink me Chai Spiced Chai Lattes are easy to prepare, say Aimia. Operators can simply combine three teaspoons of powder into a cup and then top with velvety steamed milk for an authentic Chai Latte in minutes. Alternatively, an iced Chai Latte can be easily made by adding four teaspoons of powder into a tall glass, pouring over your milk of choice and whizzing with a milk-frother for serving over ice for a refreshing take on this popular flavour profile.

Drink me Chai Spiced Chai Latte also appeals to a wide range of customer needs since it is free from caffeine, gluten and complements various milks, including dairy, soya, coconut or almond, meaning that however you choose to make it, no one has to miss out on a delicious Chai Latte (Drink me Chai Spiced Chai Latte is available in specific 1kg foodservice packs for out of home outlets).

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