Along with Future Foundation, Tetley has set out five predictions of what tea – and how we enjoy it – could look like in 2026.
Tapping into the trend for personalization is the concept of ‘remedy teas,’ those enriched with medicines such as painkillers and antibiotics.
Meanwhile, tea could move away from its liquid format with tea sprays, tablets and strips.
And ‘Tea Tech’ could see sensors, smart devices and wearable technology used to make personalized health blends.
#1 Remedy teas
2026 will see the emergence of Remedy Teas: daily cups of tea enriched with medicines from painkillers and antibiotics to contraceptives.
This ties in with the trend for personalization and customization: ‘the notion of one-size-fits-all healthcare will be dismissed as archaic,’ says the report.
“Rather than simply looking to food for nourishment and enjoyment, we will increasingly seek to consume things that can also bring us additional benefits.”
A survey from Future Foundation found that the most common reason people want vitamins and supplements is to ‘prevent illness in general.’ Other reasons were the desire to improve appearance (40%), strength (26%) or mental performance (23%).
Last year, Tetley launched its Super Teas, infused with vitamins for health benefits, including Heart, Immune and Boost. It sees tea going even further in the future: from helping with hangovers to brews that address hair loss.
“Containing antioxidants and aiding hydration, tea has long been renowned for its health-giving properties,” says the report.
“By 2026 this will have progressed even further with the emergence of Remedy Teas: daily cuppas enriched with medicines, from painkillers to antibiotics.
"The future could see ready-made blends for a variety of ailments, including Hangover Tea with added antacids and caffeine, Youthbrew Tea with collagen, Hair Restore Tea with minoxidil (to prevent hair loss), and Virali-Tea with erectile dysfunction medicine.”
#2 Tea Tech
By 2026, homes will be embedded with advanced sensors, smart devices and wearable technology that monitor the state of bodies and minds. A third of the UK is expected to have used a wearable by 2026.
“Devices will receive health data and monitor our vital signs to serve up the cuppa we need, exactly when we need it,” says the report.
“Bad night’s sleep? Devices will receive your sleep pattern from your wearable device and have a cup of tea, with extra caffeine and added vitamin B6 to reduce tiredness, ready for when you wake up.
“In the kitchen, the programmable Tea Tap will produce a steaming cup of perfectly brewed tea at the touch of a button, giving tea-lovers the product they crave instantly, just the way they like it, without the need for a kettle.”
#3 New tea formats
The traditional British trio of teapot, cup and saucer could soon be replaced thanks to today's culture of convenience.
“By 2026, we will seek immediate gratification in all of our consumption needs. So will this naturally extend to an inability (or lack of desire) to wait the all important two and a half minutes for the kettle to boil? Quite possibly. Instead, consumers will seek an instant hit - and one for which they won’t have to wait to cool down.”
And even the concept of drinking liquid tea could be challenged.
“We imagine a future where tea will transcend its liquid form. This will be facilitated by advances in product concepts and formats as game-changing as the arrival of the tea bag itself.
"The intensifying needs of time-poor, health-seeking and convenience-hungry Brits of the future will result in a growing market for products such as Tea Shots. Providing an intense burst of tea-on-the-go, Tea Sprays, Tablets and Strips are set to be available within the next decade.”
Consumers’ desire for new experiences and novelty could lead to products such as tea jellies, sorbets and syrups in various exotic tastes and flavors.
#4 Grow and blend you own
2026 will see the rise of the ‘Domestic Blender’ within the home. They will use smart tools and take advantage of the rising temperatures to grow tea plants for home blending and brewing.
It comes as consumers pay more attention to the products they consume, which is boosted by the availability of information online.
“We predict that this will drive interest in tea culture,” says Tetley. “Traditionally reserved for Master Blenders with five years’ training, tea blending is an art that takes the quality characteristics from different tea regions and brings them together in harmony to produce the perfect cuppa.
“2026 will see the rise of the Domestic Blender within the home, sourcing a wide range of teas and creating their own bespoke blends.
“Also predicted is a Grow Your Own Tea trend: tea lovers and amateur gardeners will use smart tools and take advantage of the rising temperatures to grow tea plants for home blending and brewing.”
#5 Tea Total Bars
Consumers continue to seek out-of-home leisure options. Meanwhile, the thriving wellbeing market is leading to growing abstinence from alcohol. This opens up an opportunity for ‘Tea Total Bars,’ says Tetley.
“By 2026, Tea Total Bars could well be commonplace on the market, providing consumers with an alcohol-free alternative to pubs, cocktail and wine bars.
“Spurred by the nation’s love of tea, these trendy bars will serve everything from traditional blends to tea-based mocktails in a variety of exotic flavors to drink, eat or inhale as desired.
“Continuing to cater for the growing ‘leisure upgrade’ trend, Tea Total Bars will feature Master Tea Blenders on-hand to offer consumers the chance to learn about tea tasting and blending, providing opportunities to both upskill and socialize.”
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