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IT'S as British as cricket, fair play and a stiff upper lip but our traditional cuppa is coming under increasing strain from a new generation of hot drinks.

New figures show that more and more people are supping herbal, decaf and other fancy teas instead.

The sales of caffeinefree Redbush - which features in the TV series No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - have doubled in two years, according to analysts Mintel.

Over the same period there has also been a 21 per cent rise in green tea sales, 17 per cent more decaf tea sold and a 13 per cent increase in the amount of herbal and fruit teas drunk. Yet these rivals are still just a splash in the teapot.

Although sales of standard tea rose only one per cent last year, it still accounts for around pounds 455million of a pounds 550million-a-year market.

Tea is still incredibly popular in the UK with 83 per cent of all adults having at least one cup a day.

Mintel predicts sales of all tea will rise about four per cent in the next five years.

Michelle Strutton, Mintel senior consumer analyst, said sales may be recession-proof.

She said: "Tea is such a quintessential part of British culture that it's unlikely to be abandoned even in times of economic hardship.

"In fact, being the cheapest hot beverage, it might even benefit from consumers tightening budgets."


IN Redbush tea as drunk by TV's Mme Ramotswe OUT A nice cup of char after a hard day's work
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2009
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