4 April 2019 | UK

Sales at Boston Tea Party fall £250k following takeaway cup ban

Owner of the 21-store chain, Sam Roberts, says Boston Tea Party is “100% committed” to takeaway cup ban and calls on UK coffee shops to remove disposable cups from stores

Boston Tea Party has sold 40,000 reusable coffee cups and prevented some 125,000 paper cups going to landfill since June 2018



The Bristol-based chain first announced the disposable cup ban in June 2018 and revealed 24% decline in takeaway sales one month later. This figure appears to have stabilised with the announcement of a 25% overall reduction in the chain’s £1m takeaway coffee sales in April 2019.

Speaking to the BBC, the Boston Tea Party owner Sam Roberts said his business had sold 40,000 reusable coffee cups, which retail for £4.25, and prevented some 125,000 paper cups going to landfill during the period. "We have lost around 25% of our takeaway coffee sales, but we modelled that into our costs,” said Roberts. "We felt this was a financial loss we had to take, and we want this to be a call to action to other companies,” he added.

As well as encouraging other coffee chains to adopt Boston Tea Party’s strategy, Roberts is critical of disposable cup initiatives introduced by major UK chains, accusing some of using “smoke and mirrors” strategies to promote ineffective environmental initiatives. "There's too many operators not dealing with the problem and putting their profits before the planet,” he told reporters.

Roberts has also questioned the effectiveness of discount coffee initiatives aimed driving consumers toward reusable cups or in-store consumption. Boston Tea Party gas previously stated just 5% of its customers took up the offer of 25p coffee discount for using their own reusable cup in-store.

Discounted coffee is, however, the most common initiative deployed by major UK coffee chains to reduce disposable cup use. Research conducted by World Coffee Portal also shows discounted coffee provides the greatest incentive for consumers to use their own reusable cups in-store, with banning disposable cups polling seventh out of ten preferred initiatives.

The UK’s largest coffee chain, Costa Coffee, is aiming to recycle 500 million takeaway cups by 2020 through its own initiative and currently offers a 25p discount on hot beverages purchased in a reusable cup. The UK’s second largest coffee chain, Starbucks, offers a similar 25p discount and has trialled a 5p charge for disposable cups at selected stores. Caffè Nero encourages reusable cup use with two extra loyalty card stamps and food-to-go chain, Pret A Manger, offers a 50p hot beverage discount to customers opting for reusable cups.

Caffè Nero, Greggs, McDonald’s UK and Pret A Manger have all signed up to an initiative launched by Costa Coffee in 2018, which is on track to recycle 100 million cups by April 2019 and 500 million by 2020 – still some way off the estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups used in the UK every year.
 

 
 
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