Price of Tea in UK Essay

Submitted By eliejackgharib
Words: 1377
Pages: 6

Price of a cup of tea to rise as demand soars

Student: Elie Gharib
Student Number: 16443365

Lecturer: Dr. Neil Perry
Economics 200425
Due Date: 25th October 2013.

Drinking tea is much more than a habit but a cultural tradition that dates back for centuries. Second only to water, tea is the most consumed drink in the world. People enjoy a cup of tea especially in the winter season due to the many nutritional benefits it offers Tea is consumed by drying the plants’ leaves and boiling it in water. This is then drunk as black, green or white with milk.
Demand for tea is increasing every year; in the last decade, global demand for tea has increased by 40% in comparison to coffee which has only increased by 7% (Aoyama & Akiyama, 2013). The global market for tea is very aggressive especially in countries where the demand is huge; the United Kingdom for instance is considered to be one of the biggest importers of tea as its population consumes around 165 million cups a day (UK Tea Council).
This statistic for the UK population might change as prices of a cup of tea (at the retail level) is increasing due to many factors (Price of a cup of Tea to rise as demand soars, 2011). Supply and demand for a product play a major role in indicating the price; however, there are other determinants that also contribute towards the pricing of a product (Nellis & Parker, 2006). As a result the UK market will witness fluctuating prices for a cup of tea. The aim of this essay is to explore the factors affecting this increase in price.
To understand what is happening to the quantity demanded we have to examine the determinants that lead to the shift in the demand curve.
One of these points is the advertisement of health awareness through tea; medical examinations proved that tea helps in stabilizing blood pressure and thus reducing the rate of having heart diseases (Hope, 2013).
In certain countries where there are high tax rates on alcoholic beverages like UK (Alcohol taxes hitting consumption, 2011), people have adapted to consuming different types of non-alcoholic beverages such as tea, coffee, juice or soft drinks.
The majority of Middle Eastern countries follow Islam as the major form of belief where alcohol is forbidden. United Arab Emirates (UAE), a strict Muslim country, bans all types of alcohol consumption; as a result, tea is offered as an alternative beverage. UAE’s tea consumption at 6.4 kilograms per person per annum, is the highest in the region (Sayid, cited in Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2009).
Custom and Traditions also play a role in the demand. The term “tea break” that comes from the British culture is widely used at workplace. Tea consumption is thus used as a social norm during business hours (Fair Work 2013).
Taking all these factors and analysing them will lead us to the conclusion that quantity demanded will increase; thus a rightward shift in the demand curve as illustrated below.

Tea production is mainly controlled by a few countries; China, Kenya, Sri Lanka and India alone control 75% of the world supply chain. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Due to such monopolistic powers, these countries dictate the market. The main restrictions hindering the ability of these countries to supply more, is usually force majeure such as natural disasters or civil conflicts.
Whether we choose to accept it or not, climate change has a negative effect on agricultural producers. Kenya, for example, is facing one of the most severe adverse droughts in the past 60 years (Rohit, 2011) India is also constantly hit by major cyclones that are highlighted by governmental reports (Ministry of Earth Sciences, 2011) and Sri Lanka with terrible tropical storms all of which affect the tea crops(Athas, 2011).
Political instability is another factor that affects foreign investments like the ethnic war that took place in Sri Lanka…