What you need to know

Volume sales of tea continue to decline, with the performance of ordinary teabags affecting overall sales, this being the dominant segment.

The segment is subject to fierce competition from products such as green, fruit/herbal and speciality tea, as well as coffee and soft drinks, especially among younger people, who have an expansive repertoire.

The advertising support by Taylors of Harrogate’s Yorkshire Tea, however, proves that such investment can bear fruit, the brand managing to outperform fellow standard black tea brands by seeing value and volume sales rise.

The hot chocolate and malted drinks market continues to suffer, these drinks struggling to remain relevant to today’s consumer.

The continued lack of marketing support for the major brands in the hot chocolate and malted drinks market will have done little to remind consumers of their existence. Meanwhile health concerns, especially around these products’ content of sugar or sweeteners, will likely have curbed usage further, with hot chocolate in particular positioned as more of a treat.

Products covered in this Report

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

The tea market is segmented – and defined – as follows:

  • Ordinary tea bags, which contain black tea, account for the majority of standard black teas in the UK market and are the main product for brand leaders such as PG Tips and Tetley. Black tea usually has a rich taste, which means it is suited to being served with milk and sugar.

  • Decaffeinated tea refers to black tea that has been through a process to remove most of the caffeine content.

  • Speciality tea refers to higher-quality tea and named blend teas. Examples include Earl or Lady Grey, Chai and Darjeeling, Ceylon, Assam and Kenyan blends.

  • Fruit and herbal teas are typically infusions which contain pieces of fruit, herbs (eg peppermint), spices or flowers (eg camomile). Tending not to contain black or green tea, they are generally caffeine-free. The segment also includes Redbush tea.

  • Green tea is a tea which is a light green colour when brewed and is generally drunk without milk. In contrast to black tea which is oxidised, green tea is un-oxidised and has a more bitter flavour.

  • Instant tea comes in powder or granule form and contains soluble tea solids, sometimes with the addition of sweetener, milk powder and/or flavourings.

Hot chocolate drinks are defined as follows:

  • Hot chocolate powder that requires the addition of either milk or water. It also includes products that are ready prepared and need to be heated in the microwave, as well as stir-in spoons (that are stirred into hot milk).

  • Cocoa and cocoa powder.

Hot malted drinks are defined as follows:

  • Hot malted drinks that require the addition of either milk or water.

  • Malted hot chocolate drinks, eg Ovaltine malted drinks, chocolate malted drinks.


This Report excludes teas and other hot drinks sold through catering outlets (ie cafés, restaurants, pubs) or vending machines. It also excludes all iced teas and RTD (ready-to-drink) teas, although usage and attitudes towards RTD tea is discussed in the consumer section.

Coffee is excluded and is examined in Mintel’s upcoming Coffee – UK, August 2018 Report.

Back to top