Teatime – introducing the new cuppa

I will say upfront that I drink tea like it’s going out of style. Known in the agency for the pile of mugs on my desk, I feel pretty confident that I have mastered the art of brewing a good cuppa.

I therefore could not believe my ears when I heard about a ‘No more tea bags’ range of instant tea. The product: aerosol tea that you spray into a cup and add boiling water. The tag line suggests that the product has all the flavour of a regular cup of tea brewed to perfection, but made into an instant format so you don’t have to wait.

This (theoretically) could be a great innovation for the tea industry.

However I confess I was horrified.

Far from wanting to try it, I felt like innovation had finally reached a new low.

If there is just one thing that we British are known for, it’s our love affair with tea. In a country where emotions are kept firmly controlled behind a stiff upper lip, we show someone that we care through the offering of a warm, hot, patiently brewed beverage, made just how they like it. It is a peace offering, a symbol of consideration and a sign of good friendship.

In which case, instant ‘squirtable’ tea is simply never going to cut it.

Innovation can be a great way to disrupt the industry norm and offer the market something new and interesting, engaging consumers along the way. But it should answer a need for the consumer, improving their life in some way. I question whether ‘No More Bags’ answers an insight from consumers, I cannot say I have ever looked at tea bags and been annoyed at their sogginess…

Sure it’s a quirky little product which could save consumers some time, but to launch innovation with a real chance of longevity in the marketplace brands should be led by clear consumer insight. Needless to say, I am not yet convinced that this product has been created using the right insight or delivers enough of a consumer benefit to gain traction in the marketplace.

Natalie Aylward

29.09.16