FOOD & DRINK

Cream first, or jam? A new twist on an old debate

M&S new product might solve the conundrum or maybe exacerbate it

Cream first, or jam? Do you favour the Cornish method or the Devonian? Marks & Spencers has launched a new product to solve the afternoon tea debate – but perhaps the store group has only managed to divide consumers even more! It’s a classically British conundrum: do you put cream on your scone first, or jam? How do you even pronounce scone – like alone or don? A survey by YouGov has revealed that 61% of the UK population – including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth herself – prefer the Cornish approach (jam first), while the remainder favours the Devonian method (cream first, then jam).

Now, in an attempt to end the longest-standing debate in British history, M&S has released a new product in time for summer – a strawberry-flavoured cream that combines the two. Problem solved? Not quite. This new product has, in fact, been sparked a new debate – some reacting with outrage, while others are eager to try. It seems we Brits love a debate, and hate messing with tradition!

Just to confuse matters further … in its publicity shots, M&S shows its strawberry-flavoured cream with jam. Note: it’s jam first for the photo.

Whatever your take, a cream tea is an essential part of what it means to be British. Searches across the UK for afternoon tea deliveries in the 30 days leading up to May 22 rose by a staggering 650%, while searches for cream tea deliveries increased by 750%.

Fingers crossed, I hope that soon you will be able to find a tea room open where you can indulge in Cornish or Devonian practices in person – all washed down with a decent cup of Rosy Lee. As a recognised nation of tea lovers, Brits consume a jaw-dropping 165 million cups a day, and the statistics clearly show that the lockdown did not put a damper on the desire for Britain’s favourite drink.

But, if you are seeking a tea to drink at home, you might want to consider a tea with a twist – Hatter’s Hemp tea – Holland & Barrett’s best selling tea of 2020. The producers claim they have a tea blend to suit your preferences.

Hatter’s Hemp Tea has four innovative tea blends that will suit any afternoon tea. Its hemp-infused blends are available in English Breakfast, Chamomile, Green and Lemongrass and Rosehip boost. The added, calming benefits of hemp infusion can aid relaxation and help reduce the symptoms of stress – which will no doubt calm down any debate that emerges between cream-first supporters and jam-first advocates; and now even hybrid coverts! 

Hatter’s launch of all four hemp-infused flavours comes after a hugely successful soft launch period of their vegan-friendly tea, which became the fastest-selling tea for 2020 in Holland & Barrett following their sale of more than 25,000 boxes in the first month, demonstrating the desire that Brits have for the calming benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) during a period of great anxiety. Every flavour of Hatter’s Hemp Tea is now available in-store and online.

Simon Manthorpe, CEO and founder of Hatter’s Hemp Tea, said of the launch: “Britain is a nation of tea lovers and with Hatter’s Hemp Tea, we are committed to providing everyone with a range of great-tasting teas with the added benefits of CBD. Given the circumstances surrounding coronavirus, we believe that now is a great time to launch our hemp tea to help a nation of tea drinkers reduce their anxiety and enjoy some relaxation.

“Through a long process of product development and working with some of the finest specialists in their field we crafted a range of flavours that balance well with the naturally earthy notes of hemp. This means that the delicate flavours of Chamomile for example, have not been lost. In addition, across the four flavours on offer, no added flavouring has been added, but each flavour contains 50% hemp so you will still enjoy those natural hemp notes.”

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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