February 9/London/The Express -- Britain is a nation of tea drinkers, and more of them are turning to herbal infusions, it has been revealed.
Sales of herbal tea rose 60% last year, with blends of echinacea and rooibos -- made from a South African bush -- fast rising in popularity.
Retailers Whittard of Chelsea believe the trend is driven by celebrity fans, a new corporate culture, and customers trying to cut down on alcohol.
Whittard spokesman Fiona Robinson said, "Last year's health tea sales were dominated by fruit and berry flavors, but a growing percentage of sales are now from infusions with health-promoting, medicinal qualities.
"This shift can be attributed to the perennial personal detox but also to a changing attitude in the workplace.
"Our shops have seen more offices shopping with us, as board meetings have added health teas as a third option to regular tea and coffee."
Customers were also lowering their alcohol consumption and "reaching for a cup of green or jasmine tea instead of a G&T", she said. "With an 83% increase in sales year-on-year, the best-selling of our health teas in January was lemon, ginger and echinacea. Made popular by Jennifer Aniston and Geri Halliwell, echinacea is renowned for boosting the immune system."
Roberto Salicio, manager of The Promenade, where tea is served at The Dorchester in London, said customers were becoming more "daring," with vanilla and dragon pearl jasmine the most popular choices last month.
Whittard's sales of rooibos, which is said to be calming and relaxing, rose 67% year-on-year, with peppermint tea up 62%.
From the February 10, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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