The end for of the British cuppa? Traditional tea sales drop

Sales of tea bags have dropped as consumers switch to coffee, fruit and herbal teas. Photo: PA
Sales of tea bags have dropped as consumers switch to coffee, fruit and herbal teas. Photo: PA

Sales of tea bags have dropped as consumers switch to coffee, green tea and speciality blends, market research firm Mintel has found.

Teabag sales have slumped 22% in the past five years, from 97 million kilograms in 2010 to around 76 million kilograms this year, Mintel found.

Sales of coffee and herbal teas, meanwhile, have soared.

Mintel suggested traditional tea had an "uninspiring image" that has left it struggling to compete with more exotic beverages.

"Reflecting a growing 'foodie' culture in the UK, people are branching away from standard tea bags and towards these more interesting alternatives," said Emma Clifford, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel.

- 13% drop in sales of ordinary tea bags in 2014

- 31% increase in sales of fruit and herbal tea bags in 2014

- 50% increase in sales of green tea in 2014

As well as a dip in tea sales, Mintel suggests that biscuits, a classic dunking accompaniment to milky tea, are also falling out of favour.

Biscuit sales fell from 451 million kilograms in 2009 to an estimated 413 million kilograms last year.