Following very strong growth in 2010 and 2011, in 2012 the UK RTD tea market reported an off-trade value decline of 2%.
RTD tea is positioned as a rehydrating, refreshing and healthy drink for consumers of all ages and with main focus on working professionals aged 25-45 during summer.
With summer sales being an important determinant, the product lost its appeal due to the poor weather seen in the UK; the continued low temperatures and cloudy weather during much of the year drove down sales.
Another key factor to impact the RTD tea market was the shift towards carbonates and their promotional offers. Products in the cola and non-cola carbonates categories offered increased value to price-sensitive consumers in 2012, with different pack sizes driving both value and volume sales away from higher-priced categories such as RTD tea.
The category has also been negatively impacted by its lack of innovation in terms of pack size. The average pack size of RTD tea continued to be around 500ml, which is relatively high compared to other innovative pack sizes such as 250ml metal beverage cans offered within the carbonates category.
For those consumers looking to consume soft drinks on the go, the 500ml pack size of RTD was deemed relatively unattractive, especially given the lack of sunny weather. Consumers thus preferred to grab a can within the cola and non-cola carbonates categories.
Lipton (Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd) and Mangajo (Mangajo Drinks Co) remained among the most widely distributed RTD tea brands in the UK and there were no new entrants into this category in 2012. Furthermore, Lipton continued to offer the same flavours as it did in 2012. Although a few products have been offered by retailers such as Waitrose and Marks and Spencer, they did not survive long due to low demand and were withdrawn in mid-2011.
Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd continued to be the leading player in RTD tea in the UK in 2012, accounting for an off-trade value share of 78%. Britvic Soft Drinks acquired the rights to Lipton Iced Tea in the UK from Unilever Foods UK Ltd in 2009.
For more information on the UK RTD tea market, see the latest research: UK RTD Tea Market
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