Working from home boosts tea and biscuit spending by £43m

Oscar Williams-GrutSenior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Yahoo Finance UK
Shoppers spent extra £19m on biscuits last month this time last year. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images
Shoppers spent extra £19m on biscuits last month this time last year. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

The move to working from home for the vast majority of Brits has led to a lot of adjustments — including having to provide your own tea and biscuits in the office.

Sales of tea, coffee, and biscuits have surged since Brits went into lockdown, according to new data, suggesting people are embracing coffee and snack breaks at home.

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Market research firm Kantar said on Tuesday that sales of tea and coffee over the last month were £24m ($30.5m) higher than this time last year. An extra £19m was spent on biscuits.

“The cost of working from home is starting to add up for many,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

The surge in tea, coffee, and biscuits sales reflects a new phase of pandemic shopping. McKevitt said early trends at supermarket tills had faded, notably the rush to buy items like toilet paper and vitamins.

“Sales of some products that were in huge demand as the nation entered lockdown in March are now only marginally higher than last year — with healthcare up by 2% and household products by 3%,” he said in a statement.

The surge in sales of tea break items was part of a wider rise in supermarket sales over the last three months. Shoppers spent a record £30bn on groceries in the period, driving the sector to its fastest growth since records began.

READ MORE: £30bn lockdown supermarket surge drives fastest growth on record

McKevitt said shoppers were treating themselves to upmarket products, even as the public faces a looming squeeze on income and rise in unemployment.

“Of the retailers’ own ranges, it’s the more premium lines, such as Tesco Finest or Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, that are growing fastest,” he said. “It seems shoppers are looking for small ways to treat themselves at home.”

Kantar’s findings on tea sales bode well for consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR.L), which reports half-year results on Friday. Unilever owns tea brands such as PG Tips and Pure Leaf.

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