The vast majority of UK adults start the day with a cup of fresh tea or coffee. Their consumption has long since become part of the archetypal morning schedule. The average amount of tea consumed per person in the UK each day is five cups, with some drinking up to 15 or 20 cups according to The UK Tea Council, which anticipates that 86% of all tea consumed is drunk ’in-home’ and 14% drunk ’out-of-home’. So there is huge potential to drive an increased out-of-home tea market.

Ask yourself why tea consumption is so different in-home versus out-of-home. How can you attract customers to purchase a high margin cup of tea on-the-go instead? The UK Tea Council believes that the reasons customers prefer to drink tea at home lie in greater control of quality, no recognised brands being seen to be used out-of-home, and a lack of adequate range. This is quick to resolve: deliver a consistent standard of tea each time and expand your range to offer a wider choice.

According to the UK Tea and Other Hot Drinks Survey (Mintel, February 2011), younger consumers are less attracted to English Breakfast than their older counterparts; 53% of 16- to 24-year-olds drink tea at least once a week. And their adventurous nature betrays a desire to experience new brands and flavours. Think about the other types of tea you can offer: speciality teas, herbal, fruit and organic. We are not suggesting you stock all of these, but a well-selected range can give you a USP. So impress customers with a new tea flavour each week and ask for feedback.

The fact that approximately 70 million cups of coffee are consumed per day in the UK tells us how much we love it. Yet coffee is not competing with tea for ’share of throat’. Mintel’s consumer research confirms that both beverages are competing with soft drinks. Tea’s ’share of throat’ is not being lost to coffee and vice versa; customers look for quality and variety in both.

Him!’s Food-to-Go Tracking Programme 2011 reveals that 27% go to a coffee shop for the quality of hot drinks and 35% for the range, versus 6% for both criteria in a typical food-to-go retail across convenience stores, bakeries and sandwich chains.