UK turns to delivery cream teas during lockdown

By Daniel Wainwright & Anna Khoo
BBC News

  • Published
A cream tea delivery box from Homemade by VictoriaImage source, Victoria Austin
Image caption,
A cream tea delivery box from Homemade by Victoria

Online searches for cream teas and afternoon teas to be delivered have surged since the UK went into lockdown, search data has suggested.

Afternoon tea treats topped the list of most increased searches for "delivery" queries in the UK, analysis of data from Google Trends showed.

Other popular terms included TGI, Nando's, takeaways and cakes, as people looked for a "pick-me-up" treat.

People have also been trying to make sure Royal Mail delivers on a Saturday.

Claire Dinwiddy, from Brewood in Staffordshire, had a cream tea as a surprise treat for her 40th birthday after other celebrations had to be cancelled.

"It was really nice. We were meant to be away with all my family for a long weekend glamping, but obviously it's all not going ahead so my friends did it to cheer me up," she said.

Image source, Claire Dinwiddy
Image caption,
Claire Dinwiddy's son Seb, aged five, enjoyed the cream tea

"A cream tea is something I've never had before as a birthday gift and it's really lovely not having to make anything yourself.

"It was proper party food: cakes and sandwiches; the weather was lovely so we sat out in the garden with a parasol and drank champagne."

Kerry Real from Shropshire said her husband ordered a cream tea as a "nice pick-me-up" in the middle of home schooling, working from home and a new baby.

"We like to go to National Trust places, normally we'd have a cream tea while we're there," she said.

"It is one of those nice things we just miss, so we thought, why not do it at home?"

She said the treat was from an independent, Lily's Secret Vintage Pop-up Tearoom, and it felt good to support them.

"I think with lockdown, a lot of things are returning back to supporting local businesses; it's important, it helps them to survive as well."

Image source, Kerry Real
Image caption,
Kerry Real said her cream tea and ploughman's lunch was a family treat

One of those small business owners is Homemade by Victoria, run by Northamptonshire 23-year-old Victoria Austin.

The former young chef of the year said afternoon teas were now her bestsellers as people rang up and placed orders for friends and family nearby whom they were unable to visit.

She said the deliveries were helping make up for losses from cancelled catering for weddings and other events, and now instead of serving up teas on presentation china, it was now a simple box for hygienic delivery.

"I started doing a few boxes here and there just to see," she said.

"They've always been quite popular but never as popular as this. I don't know why it is such a big thing but everyone's loving it."

A spokesperson for Rodda's, the Cornish clotted cream business, suggested the popularity may be to do with a wish for "home comforts".

She said: "A cream tea is one of those special moments, conjuring up fond memories of time spent with loved ones.

"Over the last few weeks we've seen so many people taking to the kitchen making scones, teaching the younger members of the family how to bake, and more importantly, how to enjoy a delicious cream tea.

"With a little help from technology, we've also seen people enjoy these moments online, staying connected with loved ones."