Awhile back I heard an alarming report that teacups might be going completely out of favor with tea drinkers and be replaced by mugs. Now, an intrepid tea and coffee guy on Facebook has posted an item about kettle sales in the UK being down. Oh dear, is this signaling the demise of the tea kettle? As a kettle devotee, I had to look into this further. Could it be true? Here’s the scoop.
Mintel, a high-quality provider of Market Research, reported that sales of tea kettles in the UK has declined 7% in the past five years (8.1 million sold in 2007, and only 7.5 million sold in 2012). Sounds calamitous! The cause for this decrease is said to be that consumers are switching to using other appliances such as coffee machines, one-cup hot water dispensers, and microwaves (to heat the water). In addition, hot drinks are not as popular with many younger consumers as they were. Another factor the firm claims is that some households simply make do using their main cooking appliances (translation: a pot and a stove).
To put the decreased number of kettles sold in the UK into proper perspective, you need to add in a consideration of the population change during that same time period. In 2007 the combined population of England and Wales was estimated at 51.1 million. In the 2011 Census that had increased by 5 million to a total of 56.1 million.
That means that despite a population increase of 5 million (take out about a third for young children who probably wouldn’t drink tea), sales of tea kettles fell 600,000. Logic would say that an increase, rather than a decrease, was more likely.
The article reporting on this alarming trend in kettle sales had 83 comments at the end of it, and yes I read them all. (So happy to devote my time to such a worthy cause.) In short, there are a bunch of folks out there who doubt this article and are devoted to tea and their tea kettle. They also realize that heating water in a tea kettle is good for other things such as soups, gravies, and filling hot water bottles!
So, why even bring this up and give the issue any more attention? Just to show that you needn’t worry about there being no more tea kettles anytime soon, just as you can rest assured that teacups will be around a long time, along with plenty of tasty tea to put in them.
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