Tetley monitoring its tea supplies on daily basis

Tetley monitoring its tea supplies on daily basis
Tetley teaGetty Images

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

Tetley Tea, the country’s second biggest tea brand, said supplies were “much tighter” than it would like amid disruption in the Red Sea.

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

However, Tetley said it hoped to continue to meet normal demand.

It said while its current production levels were not changing, the amount it was able to hold in stock as a buffer would drop, in what it described as a “quite fluid situation”.

The company, owned by Tata Consumer Products, supplies tea bags to supermarkets in the UK and exports around the world. It told the BBC it had introduced mitigation measures in December to cope with supply chain problems.

A Tetley spokeswoman said: “At the moment it’s much tighter than we would like it to be but we’re pretty confident we can maintain supply levels.

“Our priority is to maintain our consistent high levels of service, based on ordered & forecasted demand. We believe we can continue to deliver this, but acknowledge that this is a critical period which requires our constant attention.”

Sainsbury's sign

Reader photo

Consumers are starting to notice problems on the High Street. A sign in one Sainsbury’s store said: “We are experiencing supply issues affecting the nationwide supply of black tea. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope to be back in full supply soon.”

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

Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the BRC, said: “The impact on consumers will be minimal as retailers are not expecting significant challenges.”

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom Tea & Infusions Association (UKTIA) which represents more than 90% of all tea sold at shops in the UK, played down the impact of the Red Sea disruption. Chief executive Sharon Hall, said the organisation’s members were reporting “good stocks” of tea.

“Shoppers should not be concerned; their favourite tea brands will continue to be available,” she added.

The BBC has also contacted all the major supermarkets as well as market leader Yorkshire Tea, PG Tips, Twinings and Typhoo Tea for comment.

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Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman