As the lockdown has had a huge impact on the retail sector, with consumer sales declining by 18% in May, the past months have certainly been a testing period of time for UK SMEs. With fears that a second wave of the Coronavirus could destroy any attempts to restore normality over the next few months, small and medium retailers are looking for help and creative ideas to help them survive.
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It has therefore come as welcome news that one sector in retail that has remained relatively strong is the tea industry. As the UK clearly remain tea lovers, we consume a jaw-dropping 165 million cups a day. Whilst in isolation demand has remained high in the UK, with lockdown making UK consumers turn to their favourite warm beverage in these trying times. There is now an array of potential ways that UK SME tea manufacturers can innovate Britain's favourite drink to ensure their products succeed despite the restrictive measures retailers find themselves in.
The launch of of all four Hatters Hemp infused flavours saw the tea quickly became the fastest-selling tea for 2020 in Holland & Barrett following their sale of over 25,000 boxes in their first month, with further outstanding sales growing month on month throughout the lockdown period. Every flavour of Hatter’s Hemp Tea is now available in-store and online.
Simon Manthorpe, CEO and Founder of Hatter’s Hemp Tea, comments on how UK SMEs have been able to launch innovative FMCG units during lockdown: "Retailing popular and existing products has been a minefield during the lockdown period, so for SMEs launching new products to our shelves, it has undoubtedly been an uphill struggle. However, for creative and innovative SMEs that have spotted a gap in the market, the opportunities are still bountiful. We saw that there was an opportunity to infuse the nations favourite drink with CBD, but without compromising on the traditional flavours that we all know and love. Spotting this gap was essential. It so happened that the popularity of CBD has soared during the lockdown phase too. Having an online presence through e-commerce routes was a strategic move that allowed customers to view our products quickly, without needing to rely physical retail. With a captive market clamouring for the relaxing benefits of CBD - during what has proven to be an extremely stressful period for millions - SMEs like us should look to be forward thinking and see what opportunities can arise through these testing times".