Millennials are ditching booze for tea, new survey finds

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Supplied image.

Published Mar 23, 2023


Johannesburg – More people than ever are choosing a cup of tea over alcohol, and the generation that’s most likely to make the switch are millennials aged between 26 and 41, new research shows.

This is according to a recent survey conducted by Mintel, a market intelligence agency that tracks consumer trends around the world.

It found that almost half (49%) of those surveyed in the UK agreed that tea is a good alternative to alcohol, with 55% of millennials likely to ditch booze in favour of a cup of tea.

The high cost of living and wanting to live healthier were cited among the primary reasons for making the swop.

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) explained that consumers are feeling the pinch amid high inflation and many view good quality tea as an affordable treat when compared with alcoholic beverages.

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“Across the globe, millennials are going semi-sober and embracing wellness more than any other generation,” she said.

And according to “Forbes Magazine”, bars and nightclubs across the US, UK and Europe are suffering as a result.

The publication said that in recent years, more than 10 000 bars have shut down in the US and 6 500 nightclubs have either had to cut back on their hours or close up shop entirely.

This is as nightlife in Europe isn’t what it used to be, as the number of nightclubs in Britain dropped from 3 144 to 1 733, and in the Netherlands 38% of nightclubs were forced to close.

Millennials’ semi-sober mantra has sparked a seismic shift in beverage preferences and consumption.

On the whole, millennials prefer to drink in moderation rather than recklessly, with a big focus on health and well-being.

Wild nights of boozing at pubs and clubs are being replaced by “juice crawls”, morning exercise classes and other wholesome activities.

In addition, according to reports, global sales of booze are down among millennials, who are ditching alcohol for tea.

Du Toit said that alcohol moderation trends represent potential areas of growth for tea/tisanes in the longer term.

“The quest for affordable luxuries coupled with the boom in health and foodie culture has already seen vast changes in the tea industry,” she said.

“Even in supermarkets, the shelf space dedicated to standard tea products has shrunk, making way for a larger range of speciality teas and tisanes/herbal infusions that offer new experiences for discerning tea drinkers.”

Du Toit added that there has been a definite shift in the demographic buying rooibos with an increased interest in and demand from the youth.

“Last year, rooibos was voted among the country’s favourite hot beverages in the 2022 ‘Sunday Times’ GenNext Survey, in which more than 6 000 youth named their coolest products,” she said.

“Given the wide range of beverage options that the youth of today can choose from, the accolade speaks volumes.”

“I think the youth enjoy the versatility of rooibos. They can drink it hot or cold, as a cappuccino, espresso, cocktail or mocktail.”

Du Toit added that innovative marketers have also launched energy drinks and a plethora of health and immune-boosting shots containing concentrated rooibos.

“The tisane can also be used in smoothies, iced or bubble tea and is available in more than 100 different blends.

“Functional food and beverages continue to be prioritised among millennials, which makes rooibos a natural choice given that it’s caffeine-free, low in tannins and packed with antioxidants.”

Du Toit added that on the basis of price, tea is also much more affordable than most drinks. “At between 45c and 55c for a cup of rooibos, it starts making economical sense too,” said Du Toit.

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Rooibos mocktail:


– 15 rooibos tea bags

– 1 litre cold water

– 250ml sugar or sweetener to taste. Xylitol or stevia are also good options

– 2 litre pineapple juice

– 1 litre apricot juice

– 250ml lemon juice

– Bitter to taste

Make a pot of rooibos tea using 15 tea bags. Add 250ml sugar (or sweetener) to the hot rooibos and let it cool.

Add cold water, pineapple and apricot juice, as well as lemon juice and bitters to taste.

Enjoy chilled.

The Saturday Star