Alan Jope is sipping a cup of herbal tea. "A few years ago [this] would have been inconceivable," said the 55-year-old Scottish CEO of Unilever. "I hope my mates don't see me."

The conversion of Jope, who calls himself a "long-term black-tea drinker", is a sign of a broader trend: across several wealthier countries the traditional brew is falling out of favour. In the UK, US and Russia, retail sales volumes of black tea dropped by at least 10% in the five years to 2019, according to Euromonitor.

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