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Battling the decline in hot beverages.

Battling the decline in hot beverages

Our review of A.C. Nielsen data indicates that tea consumption has declined by at least 20 percent since 1980. According to Usage & Attitude studies, this decline is largely a consequence of the difficulty in establishing regular drinkers among the under-30 segment of the beverage market. This is the vital group to target because they are the tea drinkers of the future. ISL surveys have shown that tea consumption by this group has been dropping throughout the 80's. The tea drinking habit should be acquired early for the market to stop declining. This is why we are focusing on the under-30 group. Market Segmentation: For purposes of understanding the decline in consumption of tea among those under 30 years of age, we segmented the market into two groups; 1) Potential drinkers--who may or may not have tried tea in the past. Those who have drunk it in the past have done so infrequently due to one reason or another. 1) Established drinkers--Those who drink tea occasionally and frequently. Approach: Each segment requires a different primary focus, although we recognize that any action taken for one segment will benefit the other.

For potential drinkers--the key objective is to equate their images of the typical tea drinkers with their self images. Other objectives include improving their perceptions of convenience, portability, and satisfaction.

The most effective way to transform their image and perceptions is through advertising and promotion to change consumer perceptions of tea.

For established drinkers--the key is to demonstrate that tea is appropriate for all usage situations and convenient to purchase, store, prepare, and drink. This is achieved through: innovations in packaging and preparation, informational advertising, and retail and institutional promotions.

Over time, many potential drinkers will become established drinkers. Countering the decline in tea is clearly a long term problem that must be addressed by long term effort. Potential Tea Drinkers: Let's begin by examining the solutions required to increase consumption among potential tea drinkers. Problem Definition: The problem is that the predominant image of tea is at odds with the target group of young people. Current Image of Tea: We established a set of their images about tea through our own personal perceptions and discussions with other young people. These perceptions were reinforced by business and popular publications.

The images are: British, conservative--somewhat stodgy, a drink for our parents, an acquired taste. People think that it is supposed to be drunk from a dainty and fussy china cup and saucer. It is perceived to be a home drink--a soothing drink, which is consumed slowly, and is for sedentary people. It is served hot, requires many dishes, and preparation is time consuming, and is not seen as refreshing or convenient as cold pop.

There is nothing wrong with these images. They appeal to the established, mature segment of the tea market.

But our objective here is to reach the young people and these predominant images of tea are at odds with their self images. Self Image of Under 30's: Young people are highly influenced by what the joiner/activists seem to be doing. Every day we see successful ads targeted to youth. The ads tell young people that they will be transformed by the products advertised. The images used are stereotypes of the joiner/activists. For example, they are fashionable, open-minded, and world conscious. They are adventurous. They are health conscious, and lead an active life style. They are intrigued by technology and are quality conscious. They live for the weekend. They are highly sociable--subjecting them to peer pressure. Note that these images work for beer and soft drinks. Image of Tea Required to Appeal to Young Potential Drinkers: Now that we have identified the self image of young people and what they like, let's try to use this information to reshape the image of tea.

For example, rather than being a British drink--be cosmopolitan. Show a group of fashionable young people of mixed races.

Rather than a mature ladies' drink--a drink for young people through use of bold, colorful ads depicting active people--a drink for men too through use of strong, masculine imagery.

Tea shouldn't be thought of as something that has to be served in a dainty cup and saucer--depicts the serving of tea in a mug, can, or styrofoam cup in advertisements.

Rather than a drink for sedentary people--promote its portability, (i.e., it can be consumed while you are on the go).

Tea doesn't have to be just a home drink--promote its use out of the home. For example: at school, the office, and at meals in a restaurant.

Tea shouldn't be perceived as just a hot drink, it can be served refreshingly cold with great east. Consumers may be unaware that you can make ice tea with cold water and regular tea bags.

Let's promote the use of tea bags with cold water. Consumers will require use of more tea leaves per serving and this will increase consumption of tea.

Non-sweetened, non-flavored instant teas are of a form which shows promise in terms of appeal to young, busy people. Sweetened and flavored versions may be more appealing to children and youth.

Since drinking tea is an acquired taste, why not promote the use of iced, instant tea and flavored teas among the youth. This will serve as their introduction to the land of tea. As they acquire the taste for tea they will enjoy it hot as well.

These new images of tea will match the self images of the target group.

Thus, the objective is to use package appearance, advertising, and promotions to change potential drinkers' perceptions of tea. Suggested Advertising Media: The best media to use to reach youth are: * public transit facilities and vehicles, * school or campus newspapers, * university and college magazines, * entertainment guides, * and television, especially youth programs. Suggested Promotions: The most effective means by which to promote tea consumption among youth are: student sample packs, sponsoring an afternoon "tea break" as Twinnings did on college campuses in the U.S., coupons for a free tea at lunch in the school cafeteria, Tea-shirt give-aways printed with product brand name, sponsoring sports or social events, sponsoring sports teams and having brand name on team uniforms, and instant-win contests. For example, collecting the letters to spell "tea."

This approach will promote regular use by young people and in most cases, eventually make them established drinkers.

Now that we understand the approach for potential drinkers, let us examine the approach required to increase tea consumption among established drinkers. Established Drinkers: Increased tea consumption among established drinkers can be achieved through improvements in all of the decision points in the process from selection through to consumption. Whereas with potential drinkers, the main tools are advertising and promotion, with established drinkers, the main tools to increase consumption are product, packaging and storage modifications.

There are five main scenarios: * Sit Down in Restaurant, * Take Out/Fast food, * Vending Machines, * In Office, * Retail/In-Home Sit-Down in a Restaurant: Let's follow the chain of events involved in consuming tea with a meal and the time of day (breakfast, lunch & dinner).

Lack of stimulant: Tea is a less potent stimulant than coffee and it is generally consumed in the afternoon and evenings rather than in the morning with breakfast. Most people are rushed in the morning and they tend to have a cup of coffee to give them the energy to maintain this fast pace. Through advertising we can encourage people to drink tea for breakfast because it will get them off to a smooth and refreshing start in the morning. This will have a positive influence on both their attitude and performance on the rest of their day.

Time constraint: The major reason for not drinking tea with lunch or dinner is due to the time constraints on lunch and dinner. Lunch breaks can be as short as 30 minutes which does not give people enough time to order and enjoy a hot cup of tea. It can take approximately 10 minutes to receive a cup of tea after ordering whereas coffee is usually ready and sitting on a hot plate.

However, we can encourage people to drink ice tea with their lunch. Restaurants can serve ice tea from a fountain in the same way soda is dispensed from a soda fountain. Another alternative solution would be to order the tea when ordering lunch, so that it will arrive just after you finish your lunch.

Inconvenient/Messy: Ordering tea outside the home can be inconvenient for both the patron and the server. The server is required to obtain a cup, saucer, tea bag, hot water and a little aluminum tea pot. The patron has to place the tea bag in the little pot and wait until it's ready. There is a high likelihood of spilling either the hot water or the tea. In addition, the patron cannot easily dispose of the tea bag from the little pot. Solutions: These problems can be overcome if:

* Restaurants have the tea already made by using the automatic coffee makers. Tea bags can be designed to fit the funnel of the coffee maker.

* Another solution making tea more convenient, less messy and also gives the tea bag a nicer appearance is to use an individually wrapped tea bag. The wrapper is a waterproof pouch which a patron can use to squeeze the tea bag. The tea bag will stay inside a tidy and attractive pouch. This method making tea will eliminate the use of the little aluminum pot currently used to make tea.

* Another option would be to promote instant teas as an alternative drink. This will eliminate the need for the messy tea bag and pot.

Lack of Brand Teas: Finally, patrons generally have little or no choice regarding the brand and types of tea served to them. Some restaurants do not even identify the brand of tea which they serve. It is recommended that restaurants are encouraged to carry particular brands and types of tea. In addition, they should convey the brands and types of tea they serve.

Now, we turn to the problems associated with the consumption of tea in take-out and fast food outlets. Take-Out/Fast Food:

Instructions: Ordering tea can be a complicated task because the server needs to be given various instructions (bag in/out? cream? to stay/go? large, medium or small? etc.) Sometimes people refrain from ordering tea because of the inconvenience of giving these instructions. These ordering difficulties can be overcome by developing standard types of tea just as coffee can be ordered as `double-double', `regular', etc.

Product not homogeneous: The taste of tea can vary depending on how it is prepared. Consistency of quality is difficult to maintain in take-out and fast food outlets. Consistency in the quality of tea can be achieved by using an instant tea or the patron can serve himself and prepare the tea to accommodate his particular tastes. This approach works well for places like Second Cup. Now we move to the problems associated with the consumption of tea from vending machines. Vending Machines: Vending machines are often found in cafeterias and public places. Unreliable quality and taste: Tea from vending machines in cafeterias and public places are often known for their unreliable quality and taste. Solutions: The consistency and quality of tea can be controlled if package goods companies install their own hot beverage vending machines. These machines would dispense the tea bag and hot water separately, providing customers with the opportunity to make their tea according to taste. In addition, this system would give customers the opportunity to try various brand name and flavored specialty teas. In Office: Tea is generally not consumed at work in the office because it is inconvenient, messy and not perceived as a smooth and refreshing drink. Solutions: In those offices where most of the staff are tea drinkers the automatic coffee maker can substitute as a tea maker. The round filter tea bag can be placed in the filter and tea can be made for the entire staff. The individually wrapped tea bag with the attractive plastic pouch enables a tea drinker to make tea at his desk without making a mess. Increasing the consumption of tea in the office can be achieved by promoting tea as smooth and refreshing drink. Tea can help people under work pressure to relax. Retail/In-Home: Let's follow the chain of events from selection in the retail store to storage, preparation, and consumption in the home. Retail Store: In the retail store, the objective is to increase consumer purchases.

To achieve this objective, four challenges must be faced: lack of widespread packaging appeal, lack of consumer consciousness of tea price advantage relative to other beverages, non-competitive and non-complementary aisle placement, and lack of non-price promotions in stores.

Widespread Packaging Appeal: When a consumer enters the tea section, he/she typically observes attractive tea boxes with depictions of fine china and flowers. This style likely appeals to mature tea drinkers. However, the tea market can be expanded by introducing products with package styles that appeal to a younger group, both men and women. For example: visibly show young men and women enjoying life with tea, or use bold, colorful graphics. Note that the brand name of this product has been written on lines which appear to be from a note book of possibly a young person. Price relative to other beverages: According to data from A.C. Nielsen, soft drinks and juices are typically nine times more expensive than tea by volume. Consumers are likely not conscious of the price advantage of tea. Thus, the challenge is to make the public aware of the low price of tea through: informational advertising, adoption of the Tea Council of Canada's ranking of tea quality to make consumers aware that they are getting value for their dollar (in which case, consumers might be willing to spend even more), and sell on special more often because retailers have recognized that tea consumers are highly price sensitive. Placement in the Store: Tea could be placed in or closer to competitive beverage aisles, such as soft drinks, juices, and instant beverages. This will enable consumers to compare the price advantage of tea over these competitive beverages. It will also make consumers more conscious of tea as an alternative beverage to purchase. In-Store Promotions: In addition to facing the three previous challenges, tea purchases may be increased through such in-store promotions as: free samples given out from a trial booth or the store snack bar, cross promotions of tea with more frequently purchased complementary products such as cookies, sugar, or milk, end of aisle displays, and store contests promoting tea, such as entry forms (which require a tea purchase) for `Tea'-shirts with tea logos. Meeting these challenges and sponsoring in-store promotions will increase the presence of tea in the retail store and likely induce purchasing behavior. However, to induce consumption behavior, we have to examine the obstacles faced in the home. In the Home: In order to increase tea consumption in the home: the impulse to drink tea must be created and the inconvenience aspect must be addressed.

Let's examine how to create the impulse to drink tea. Three challenges must be faced: reducing shelf space occupied by tea, preserving the freshness of tea, and placement of tea in high traffic areas of the kitchen. Reducing shelf space occupied by tea: The tea box takes up too much shelf space. Currently, boxes are designed with the largest surfaces on the top and bottom with the flap opening upward. Consumers tend to place the box at the back of the cupboard and often place other items on top of a tea box. Thus, tea typically has weak visual presence in the cupboard, and is difficult to access.

These problems can be addressed by: changing the dimensions of a tea box. Tea in a cracker type box which stands on end and opens from the top uses less shelf space. It is less likely to be hidden by other products. Preserving the freshness of tea: Tea can go stale if left in the cupboard for too long after the plastic wrap is removed. Consumers may be wary of this and avoid tea. Those who try a cup of stale tea may never drink it again. Thus, it is of utmost importance to preserve the freshness of tea.

This can be achieved by: packaging tea air tight individual packages, wrapping stacks of tea in plastic sleeves much like crackers. These sleeves can be inserted into an attractive and colorful mini-box, several of which are sold in a larger box and opened when required, and storing tea in a cold place such as the refrigerator. Placement of tea in high traffic areas of the kitchen. Consumers lack the impulse to drink tea when they are thirsty because tea is typically not stored in the high traffic areas of the kitchen, such as on the counter or in the refrigerator. Thus, consumers are not conscious of tea as an alternative drink when faced with more highly visible beverages such as pop, juice and milk. Consumers require reminders that tea is an alternative beverage that can be drunk hot or cold.

This can be achieved by selling tea in clearly marked decorative canisters which consumers will want to place on their kitchen counter, giving away refrigerator magnets with tea logos, informing consumers that tea will retain its freshness if stored in the refrigerator, directly competing for attention with the pop, milk, and juice, and sponsoring a contest to win a safari trip to Kenya, one of the world's major tea producers, which requires mailing in proof of purchases. Inconvenience: Once the impulse is generated to have a cold or hot tea, a consumer could still be turned from having a tea because of the perceived inconvenience of preparation. Thus, two challenges must be faced: reduce the time required to make tea, and introduce less labor intensive methods of preparation.

Let's examine solutions to deal with the first challenge. Reduce the time required to make tea.

The customary way of preparing tea is time consuming. It takes water five minutes to boil, then the tea pot requires rinsing with the boiling water, then it takes five more minutes for the tea to steep in the pot, then it takes 5-10 minutes more to drink because it is too hot to quaff. If one is looking for thirst relief, he can open a can of pop or juice in seconds.

The solution to reduce the time required to make tea is to promote: preparation of ice tea with tea bags and cold water, instant tea as an alternative drink, and introduce less labor intensive preparation methods.

It is difficult to make a cup of tea which is consistent to ones liking without careful attention to all stages of the tea making process. Water that is not hot enough will produce a weak cup of tea and a tea bag left in a cup of boiling water will produce a strong, bitter cup of tea.

Thus, tea preparation requires a person to have their attention focused on the tea making process. The solution is to introduce a less labor intensive method of producing a consistent cup of tea. Having the coffee maker double as a tea maker would free the consumer to attend to other activities while a consistent cup of tea was being made. This would require informational advertising and cross promotions with purchases of coffee makers to promote its usage as such, and possibly development of a round tea filter bag for use in the coffee maker cone.

In conclusion, to counter the decline in the tea market, we must:

* Transform the image of tea so that it is acceptable to young potential drinkers through use of youth directed advertising and promotion.

* Improve consumer perceptions of tea's convenience, portability, and ability to satisfy.

* Increase consumption among established drinkers through: informational advertising, innovations in packaging and preparation, and retail and institutional promotions.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Canada
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jun 1, 1989
Words:3348
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