LONDON - Britons famously love their tea but sales have fallen by more than a fifth since 2010, driven by a shift away from the traditional cuppa, a report said on Wednesday.

Tea sales by volume fell by 22 per cent between 2010 and 2015 to about 76 million kilos (about 170 million pounds) from 97 million kilos, according to market research firm Mintel.

Sales of bags of black tea -- the cheapest version known as "builder's tea", commonly drunk with milk -- fell by 13 per cent between 2012 and 2014 to £425 million (610 million euros, USD$662 million).

"Standard black tea is struggling to maintain consumers' interest amid growing competition from other drinks, held back by a rather uninspiring image," said Mintel analyst Emma Clifford.

However, fruit and herbal tea are becoming more popular with sales rising 31 per cent to £76 million in the same period, reflecting a growing "foodie" trend in Britain.

Another reason for the trend could also be that tea is often drunk alongside a biscuit or cake -- sweet snacks that many people are now eschewing over health concerns.

"Given the sugar scare, and that usage of such treats is in decline, these strong associations could have had a negative impact on the tea market," Clifford said.

Tea still remains the drink of choice for many Britons, however, with 54 per cent of people surveyed saying they drank it at least once a day.