SALES of the traditional British cuppa have declined by 6 per cent over the past five years as a growing number of people switch to fruit and herbal teas.
Purchases have declined by £45m, from £699m to an estimated £654m in 2015, according to figures from consumer analysts Mintel.
Meanwhile, sales of fruit and herbal teas are increasing.
Research shows people turn to alternative flavours because they feel what they drink could affect mood and have health benefits.
Andrew Gadsden, founder of All About Tea, in Southsea, argued that the traditional British cuppa isn’t in decline.
But more shoppers are thirsty for high-quality local tea, such as Portsmouth tea.
He said: ‘The increase in herbal and fruit teas has been noted by the industry for 10 years now.
‘And as a result of this, all of the big blenders now offer a larger range of tea.
‘We are not seeing a decline in traditional tea as these figures are not looking at quality tea and the fact is tea sales are growing because people are thirsty for quality.’
All About Tea opened eight years ago when Mr Gadsden saw a gap in the market for good quality local tea.
The tea enthusiast added: ‘It is absolutely right that herbal and fruit tea has health benefits.
‘Each tea offers something different as it comes from different plants.
‘There is a wide range of fruit products and blended teas and it is worth trying the different varieties.’
Food analyst Emma Clifford says sales of traditional tea are in decline because of the ‘uninspiring image’.
She said: ‘Standard black tea is struggling to maintain consumers’ interest amid growing competition from other drinks – held back by a rather uninspiring image.’
‘Reflecting a growing ‘foodie’ culture in the UK, people are branching away from standard teabags and towards these more interesting alternatives.’
Ten tea facts to know...
1 - Tea breaks are a tradition which have been with us for approximately 200 years
2 - 80 per cent of office workers say they find out more about what’s going on at work over a cup of tea than any other way
3 - By the mid 18th Century, tea replaced gin and ale as the drink of the masses, it was Britain’s most popular beverage
4 - Tea contains half the amount of caffeine found in coffee
5 - The number of recommended cups of tea to drink each day is 4
6 - Tea was created more than 5000 years ago
7 - Tea has potential health maintenance benefits in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention
8 - 96 per cent of tea drunk daily in the UK are brewed from tea bags
9 - Apart from tourism, tea is the biggest industrial activity in India
10 - 98 per cent of people take their tea with milk, and just 30 per cent with sugar