Hot drinks are a staple of the winter season and interest in more flavours of tea is high enough to suggest scope for tea brands to expand flavour choices. Indeed, almost one in five Brits are interested in tea with flavours tailored for the seasons and slightly less interested in standard black tea with added flavours. The interest in this type of tea peaks among 16 to 34 year olds. While they are core users of fruit teas, this likely fuelling their interest in flavoured variants, this group drinks standard black tea less frequently than older people. Black teas with added flavours, including seasonal variants, therefore stand out as a much-needed platform to bolster interest in black tea among younger people. Seasonal claims are currently rare in new product launches in the tea market, with Mintel GNPD data showing few examples in 2015 and January to October 2016 at 2% and 1% of total launches respectively. This compares with 9% of new product launches in sweet biscuits and cookies making seasonal claims in 2015, rising to 13% for January to October 2016. Twinings launch festive range Looking to appeal to those who think standard tea is losing steam, tea brand Twinings has a new range of Christmas caddies that come with a design inspired by scenes of London at Christmas. The caddies come in three varieties: green and gold for the Christmas Blend, its spiced, malty black tea; purple and gold for Christmas Chai, an aromatic blend of African black tea, rooibos and fragrant spices; and red and gold for its English Breakfast blend, a large-leaf malty tea. The tea caddies are being promoted on the Twinings website for enjoying in the run up to Christmas with family and friends, or for giving as gifts. For Christmas 2016 Twinings is also offering tins containing 100 tea bags of English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea that can be personalised with people’s own festive messages to give as a gift. Tea well positioned for encouraging gifting Food and drink is the third most popular choice of gift for Christmas, after clothing and footwear and perfume, aftershave and toiletries, with nearly half of UK consumers buying them for Christmas 2015. Two fifths of people bought food and drink in-store and one in 10 online. With food and drink already such a popular choice of Christmas gift, premium and gifting products can look to boost sales for tea brands in the run up to Christmas. This could include linking Christmas teas to other festive treats such as biscuits or cakes. Seven in 10 tea drinkers agree that they would be happy to receive a premium box of tea as a gift. As Mintel research shows, the Twinings brand is closely associated with offering consistently high quality, its positioning at the premium end of the mass market making it particularly well placed to explore gift sales. Its branding and product range enables it to attract both everyday tea purchases and gift buyers. What we think Flavour development, including added flavours for standard black tea and flavours tailored for the seasons, can act as a much-needed platform to bolster interest in black tea among younger people who currently drink standard black tea less frequently than older people. As seasonal claims are seen on only a very small share of new product launches in the tea market, especially when compared with a complementary product category such as biscuits, scope exists in the market for more seasonal blends such as those under Twinings’ Christmas range. Given the high incidence of buying food and drink as Christmas gifts and seven in ten tea drinkers agreeing that they would be happy to receive a premium box of tea as a gift, premium teas can look to tap into gifting occasions, including by launching limited edition seasonal-themed variants. Richard Caines is Senior Household Analyst at Mintel and researches and writes Mintel’s Household Care reports. He has also worked as a senior analyst on Mintel’s household retail reports. Before Richard joined Mintel in 1998, he was Senior Editor at Key Note, a publisher of market information reports. You might also be interested in: Online and mobile sales drove the 2016 holiday season Mother’s Day 2017 Cold brew coffee gains traction in South East Asia – but who’s warming up to the iced treat?