UK High Street Coffee Chains Set For Their Very Own Tea Party?

Tea and Coffee have been as synonymous in the UK population’s psyche as fish & chips, salt & pepper and Ant & Dec. Yet the runaway success of the Coffee shop chain on Britain’s high streets, is only just beginning to respond to changing demands in UK tea drinking habits. Evidence is growing to suggest that more and more people are now opting for fruitier, healthier and caffeine-free alternatives to their daily espresso shot or Mocha with extra cream. As a direct result, the likes of Pret A Manger, Starbucks, Café Nero and Costa are having to assess how best to reposition themselves in a changing marketplace that will cater for a new breed of customer.


Leading global market research company Mintel has reported that a trend towards ‘more exotic and fruity flavours, coupled with a tendency for a younger generation of tea drinkers to go caffeine-free is driving this changing market. Mintel’s findings suggest that consumers have been trading up towards premium and speciality teas, with white and green tea together with other exotic fruit teas set to increase in market share in the years to come.

In a survey conducted by Charbrew this year, revealing figures found that the traditional ‘coffee shop chain’ demographic of typically young (aged between 25 and 45) white collar consumers, are increasingly demanding an emphasis upon quality speciality tea offerings.  Over 2/3rd of those questioned thought that a tea range aimed at a younger audience would be appealing, with the same proportion of respondents also stating that the concept of a tea room would compete with the high street coffee chains.


Here we take a look at the current contenders on the high street to see how well equipped they are to cater for this emerging group:

Costa Coffee
Not known for its tea offerings Costa currently stocks the rather boring and traditional Twinings brand with little in the way of interesting new and healthy tea blends.

Starbucks continues to pitch it’s Tazo Tea products based on the arguably less discernable US market and therefore appears to be missing a shot.

Pret a Manger
With its emphasis firmly placed upon high quality, often healthy foods, Pret a Manger has its own range of speciality teas including Earl Grey, Vanilla Chai, Ceylon and Tropical Green tea.

Caffe Nero stocks its own brand of teas but continues to place a heavy emphasis upon its coffee and food offerings.

A common theme with the ‘Big Four’ is that none have built their foundations of their businesses upon their tea offerings. As a consequence, their teas have a much weaker branding and marketing message associated with them compared to their coffee offerings. A fresh and innovative UK tea brand such as Charbrew could stand to invigorate this side of their businesses. Charbrew blends such as Chocolate Orange Rooibos, Strawberry & Kiwi and Pineapple & Kiwi could offer retailers a stronger depth of range, whilst catalysing excitement and interest back into the tea menu attracting a more engaged customer base.....

adam SolimanComment