Coffee business might have been brewing well for Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL), but the company’s expectations from its tea business too remain high. The company has launched a range of green tea products, both in the Indian and the international market under its Tetley brand.

The company is tapping into the nascent green tea market, as consumers are gradually switching from coffee and black tea to flavoured green tea, because of its health benefits. Green tea is rich in anti-oxidants that helps fight cancer.

Green tea accounts for about 5 per cent of the total tea market in India and is growing at 50 per cent annually. At this rate, the segment is expected to grow four times over the next few years, say analysts.

Various flavours

While the company had launched Tetley green tea with infusions such as citrus, ginger, lemon and honey in the Indian market, it recently launched an innovative range of Tetley ‘green tea plus’ blended with aloe vera, hibiscus, orange, cranberry, rose, among others. The company has also launched a range of herbal ‘mocktails’ such as pina colada tea in the Canadian market.

Optimistic on the growing green tea culture in India, the company is looking at getting these products in the market soon. Brands such as Twinings, Typhoo and Waitrose have already bagged some loyal customers. Meanwhile, Hindustan Unilever has also launched green tea offering under its Brooke Bond and Lipton brands.

“We are focusing on more value addition and innovation in the tea segment. There is a huge potential in the green tea market as consumers are getting more health conscious. Consumers do not mind spending extra for such products. We need to promote awareness about the benefits of green tea,” said Harish Bhat, Managing Director, TGBL.

For TGBL, tea contributes to 70 per cent of the total business. However, despite the slowdown in the European and the UK market, the company has witnessed significant growth in the Indian tea business and reported a strong sales volume growth. The tea business also saw strong sales and profit performance in Canada and Australia, two of the company's bigger markets.

The company is also banking on green tea or value-added tea in the UK and Europe to beat the recessionary pressures in those markets. “We are witnessing a few contractions in the black tea segment due to hike in commodity prices. We see growth coming from value-added tea products until these markets recover,” Bhat said.

According to industry experts, India, on an average, produces 9-11 million kg of green tea annually and half of that is consumed domestically.

Priyanka.pani@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 1, 2013)
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