>> Hot drinks are a major revenue provider for caterers - and a great vehicle for upselling too - but, as palates get more sophisticated, offering one type of tea and one of coffee is often not enough.
As café culture continues to sweep the nation, influenced by trends in Europe and beyond, creating a separate hot beverages menu could be vital to your business.
And with equal amounts of tea and coffee being served out of home (Kantar Worldpanel Usage, Out of Home consumption, 12 m/e Feb 2012), both should be given equal billing.
Says John Sutcliffe, Out of Home and Convenience Controller, Taylors of Harrogate: "The profitability of hot drinks shouldn't be underestimated! The fact is it costs pennies to make a cup of tea or coffee, get your offering right and the profit on every hot drink sold can mean serious business."
"...tea drinkers are becoming increasingly adventurous in their tastes with afternoon tea growing in popularity..."
The total UK tea market is currently worth £657million and is up 2% year on year in value terms.
The largest sector within the total tea market is mainstream (£489million) followed by Fruit and Herbal tea (£87million) and Speciality (£81million).
However, mainstream tea is in decline down 1.6% whilst Speciality and Fruit and Herbal are both on the up (8.1% and 18.3%).
Brand awareness is of major importance to many consumers who rely on familiar brand names when drinking tea out of home, but many brands now stock a variety of blends so it's important to get the right one for your operation.
John Sutcliffe, of Taylors, adds: "As well as giving brand reassurance to the consumer, we pride ourselves on offering the widest range of mainstream teas on the market under the Yorkshire Tea brand. Operators can choose the blend right for them with a choice of Yorkshire Tea standard blend, premium Gold blend and Decaf. We also have a Hard Water offering - unique in the world of mainstream tea - which guarantees caterers can deliver the great taste of Yorkshire Tea wherever they are in the country. "Earlier this year we introduced a new string & tag 100s pack exclusively for our foodservice customers to help make an operation more efficient and sustainable."
Similar to the speciality coffee market, tea drinkers are becoming increasingly adventurous in their tastes with afternoon tea growing in popularity with younger customers.
As a result the speciality tea market has grown by 7.7% in the last 12 months, with English Breakfast and Earl Grey becoming a big part of this movement.
There's also been a real shift in demand for super-premium loose leaf teas. The beauty of loose leaf teas is that they instantly give any offering a high-end feel making them ideal for directors dining and corporate catering.
" The UK has become 'a new nation of coffee drinkers' "
With health a key consumer driver in the last couple of years, green tea has transformed from a tea drunk by a minority to a heavyweight blend.
Infusions such as peppermint - which accounts for nearly a quarter of infusion sales - and camomile are also enjoying a 15.7% growth in sales - testament to tea drinkers becoming increasingly adventurous in their tastes.
The UK has become 'a new nation of coffee drinkers', as speciality coffee culture features as a critical part of UK lifestyles (Allegra Cafe UK12 report).
Latte (48%) and Cappuccino (37%) are still the UK's favourite coffee shop beverages in the coffee market, which has doubled in size since 2005 to reach an estimated turnover of £2.1billion. This is forecast to almost triple by 2015 but quality is key, says Lissa Cleaver, of Nestlé Professional. "The coffee market grew by a staggering 7.5% last year and, with our emergence as a nation of 'coffee connoisseurs' comes a growing expectation of quality, both in taste and consistency. Indeed, research shows that somewhere in the region of 99 million 'lost' coffee sales in the out-of-home market can be attributed to poor quality, as people are happier to go without than to settle on 'less-than-perfect'."
Since launching the world's first instant coffee in 1938, Nescafe has always remained at the forefront of innovation and has now launched Nescafe Azera out of home, the brand's first instant barista-style coffee that delivers the same intense aroma and roasted coffee taste you would expect from a barista coffee, but in the ease of an instant.
Meanwhile Taylors has recently re-launched their new and improved Pour & Serve Filter Coffee Pouches in new 65g pouches that have been developed specifically for optimum use of filter coffee machines (each pouch will fill an eight-cup cafetière). Pour and serve filter coffee is an easy and inexpensive way to offer a range of customers a wide choice of good quality coffee without the expense of a bean-to-cup machine. The new pouches bring Taylors' best-selling retail filter coffees to foodservice in a portion controlled, value-for-money format.
Article taken from Jan / Feb 2014 issue of Stir it up magazine. Get your copy here