April 24, 2024

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Tetley monitors its tea supply on a daily basis

Tetley monitors its tea supply on a daily basis

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Tetley says imports are “much lower” than desired

One of the UK's most famous tea makers has revealed that it is monitoring tea supplies on a daily basis as imports reach a “critical period”.

Tetley Tea, the country's second-largest tea brand, said supplies were “much lower” than it had desired amid the unrest in the Red Sea.

It comes after supermarket Sainsbury's issued warnings about the availability of black tea.

However, Tetley said she hopes to continue meeting normal demand.

It said that although its current production levels had not changed, the amount it was able to hold in stock would decrease, in what it described as a “very volatile situation.”

The company, owned by Tata Consumer Products, supplies tea bags to supermarkets in the UK and exports them worldwide. It told the BBC it had taken mitigating measures in December to deal with supply chain issues.

A Tetley spokeswoman said: “At the moment, it's a little tougher than we would like, but we are very confident in our ability to maintain supply levels.

“Our priority is to maintain high, consistent levels of service, based on desired and expected demand. We believe we can continue to provide that, but we recognize that this is a critical period that requires our continued attention.”

Market leader Yorkshire Tea also told the BBC: “Unfortunately, ongoing shipping disruptions are impacting the grocery category… We are monitoring the situation closely.”

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Consumers began to notice problems on the High Street. A sign in a Sainsbury's store read: “We are experiencing supply issues affecting black tea supplies nationwide. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to be back with full supplies soon.”

Other supermarket chains have not publicly reported any issues, and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents major retailers, described it as a “temporary disruption”.

“The impact on consumers will be minimal because retailers are not anticipating major challenges,” said Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at BRC.

Meanwhile, the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA), which accounts for more than 90% of all tea sold in stores in the UK, has played down the impact of the Red Sea disturbance. Chief Executive Sharon Hall said members of the organization reported “good stocks” of tea.

“Shoppers should not worry; their favorite tea brands will still be available,” she added.

UKTIA said tea continues to overtake coffee as the hot drink of choice in the UK with nearly 100 million cups drunk every day.

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Sainsbury's has warned shoppers of black tea supply issues, but the BRC says it is a “temporary disruption”.

The import of tea, like many other products, has been affected by ongoing attacks by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Despite efforts by the British and US armed forces to prevent attacks on Western shipping through the Red Sea and Suez Canal, imports to the UK and Europe remain disrupted.

Many shipping companies are now choosing to avoid the dangerous route to their destinations and instead sail via South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, adding time and cost to their journeys.

The BBC has contacted all major supermarkets as well as PG Tips, Twinings and Typhoo Tea for comment.

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