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Latest afternoon tea trends revealed, with Brits taking to their air fryers for Breast Cancer Now

2024 afternoon tea trends revealed as Breast Cancer Now calls on the UK to sign up and host an Afternoon Tea to raise vital funds for its research and support.

  • New research shows the air fryer is set to be essential for 2024 afternoon teas with 73% of Gen Z opting to bake in an air fryer
  • Millennials (73%) and Gen Z (67%) more likely to have an afternoon tea than Boomers (59%), as trendy new flavour combinations announced
  • Matcha, Truffle and Miso among flavours revealed as the new way to enjoy a 2024 afternoon tea, alongside a surprise return of some retro favourites

As the air fryer continues to revolutionise the culinary world, with celebrity chef Nigella Lawson saying it’s her go-to alternative to the AGA*, new research reveals that almost half of Brits (45%) opt to cook baked goods in the air fryer. Gen Z are leading the way in ditching traditional methods as almost three quarters (73%) admit to testing out sweet treats in the compact speedy oven.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults was commissioned by the research and support charity Breast Cancer Now, as they announce the return of their annual afternoon tea fundraising campaign this August. Running for over 25 years, the iconic charity bake-off sees people donning their aprons and dusting off their whisks to raise vital funds for world-class breast cancer research and life-changing support for those affected by the disease.  

Two hundred years on from the concept of the afternoon tea emerging in the UK, the national pastime remains as popular as ever – 67% of all respondents plan to indulge in one this year.

Surprisingly, younger people now seem keener than the Baby Boomer generation to embrace the iconic teatime tradition: the survey reveals 73% of 25-34 year olds and 67% of 16-24-year olds planning to treat themselves to one at home or in a restaurant this year, compared to just 59% of people aged 55 or over.

But in true millennial and Gen Z style, they’re doing afternoon tea their way. Asked what new flavours they’d like to see incorporated in the traditional Afternoon Tea, nearly a quarter (23%) of millennials opted for Matcha. Other popular flavours included coconut (22%), elderflower (20%), pistachio (17%), truffle (14%), and Yuzu (7%).

For Gen Z, Coconut came out on top, with a quarter of the TikTok generation saying they’d like to see it incorporated in their next afternoon tea. Their other favourites included Matcha (24%), pistachio (22%) and Miso (8%).

Even the tea poured at an afternoon tea was up for experimentation, with just over a fifth (21%) of millennials and 22% of Gen Zs keen to try chai – a tea preparation popular in India that combines black tea with spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.

Around a third of millennials (29%) and Gen Zs (30%) wated to see samosas served alongside the customary mainstays of dainty finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and elegant cakes.

And it’s not just new flavours that are piquing tea-lovers’ interest. When asked what retro dish they’d like to bring back for afternoon tea, 29% of respondents spanning all generations agreed that jam roly-poly deserved a spot on the menu. Other retro favourites revealed to be due a comeback included trifle (28%), vol au vents (21%) and the classic pineapple and cheese combination (20%).

Georgie Gibbons, Afternoon Tea manager at Breast Cancer Now, says: “I’m not surprised younger generations are embracing Afternoon Tea. It’s an iconic and much-loved hallmark of British cuisine that has so much room for exploration. Plus, it’s incredibly ‘instagrammable’!

“In the 25 years we’ve been running our Afternoon Tea campaign, it’s been great to see our fundraisers personalise the experience in their own fun and inventive ways.

“Some have special themes like a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ and ‘Greatest Showman Afternoon Tea’, and one supporter serves her guests using a personal collection of 50 different teapots.

Georgie continues: “Whatever you do, hosting an Afternoon Tea is a such a fun way of bringing people together to enjoy the iconic culinary event that continues to evolve with the times. And all the money raised helps us drive forward our life-saving research and provide vital support to anyone affected by breast cancer. With over 55,000 people being diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, this has never been more needed.

“Get your fundraising pack today, filled with inspiration, and host an Afternoon Tea in August to support people affected by breast cancer - breastcancernow.org/afternoon-tea or search ‘Breast Cancer Now Afternoon Tea’”.

Raise a cuppa. Raise money. Raise hope.

Support life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing support by joining us for this year’s Afternoon Tea. Sign up today at breastcancernow.org/afternoon-tea or search Breast Cancer Now Afternoon Tea

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