Tea-totalling: Green's the way to be seen

Tea-totalling: Green's the way to be seen

One cannot refute the fact that tea is one of the most sought after beverages in India, where almost every region has created its own distinctive tea brewing technique and recipes for preparation. The size of the Indian tea market is massive, of which the share of green tea is very small.

 But the popularity for the light jade-coloured brew in the country is increasing in recent times, signifying the growing wellness consciousness among Indians towards wellness. Tata Tea, the largest packaged tea brand in the country, is now geared up to spread the importance of wellness among consumers and make the wellness quotient accessible.

Tata Global Beverages (TGBL) Vice-President (Marketing) Vikram Grover tells Deccan Herald’s Umesh M Avvannavar and Hrithik Kiran Bagade the company’s plans to boost the green tea and organic tea categories:

What is the current growth of the tea sector in India and where does Tata Tea stand?

India is the world’s largest consumer, second largest producer and fourth largest exporter of tea after China and accounts for nearly 30 per cent of global output, and nearly 25 per cent of tea produced worldwide is consumed in India.

Tata Tea is the largest packaged tea brand in the country with one in three Indian households having consumed it over the course of last year. We are the leading player with about 20 per cent market share. Around 70 per cent of Tata Global Beverages’ revenues comes from tea. Our speciality teas, which include green and herbal tea make up 15 per cent of the 70 per cent pie.

What is the present scenario of the green tea category in India? Any new products on the anvil?

The total tea market in India is around Rs 18,000-20,000 crore, whereas green tea accounts for 1.5 per cent of the market, which is around Rs 250 crore. We have recently launched our new green tea brand called Tata Tea Acti Green during the Diwali season.
With unique flavours like Elaichi and Tulsi Nimbu, Tata Tea seeks to democratise the benefits of green tea, which helps Indians stay agile and active in the midst of their busy lifestyle.

With the launch of these new green tea variants, we are confident that the company will further consolidate its grip on the market.

What are the key factors triggering growth in this category?

Firstly, today consumers are well-travelled, informed and aware of the benefits and wellness of green tea. Secondly, given the hectic schedule at work and at home, they feel green tea helps them relax and reduce stress levels. Hence, we see the popularity of this beverage at homes, offices and hotels.

How do you plan to promote or market your brands, Acti Green and Tetley, in the target markets?

We have identified internal cleansing to be the benefit area for our green tea consumers. We have initiated a campaign called ‘Insidewala Snan’ with Kareena Kapoor as our brand ambassador. She is a highly fitness-conscious celebrity who is noted for her healthy lifestyle. The key part of our marketing plan is distribution. We have established outlets for Tetley green tea wherever possible.

As for Tata Tea Acti Green, we are focusing on two pillars. One is our distribution across all parts of India. Secondly, we are focusing on first-time green tea consumers, and therefore, the flavour is mild in Tata Tea Acti Green.

Where does the leaf tea market stand, versus the granular and other categories?

We develop products on the basis of what the consumer wants rather than what we can provide them. We do not necessarily see them as a leaf market or a granular tea market or tea bags, as they are essentially different grades of the same thing.

The leaf tea market is rather small with it contributing to about 1 per cent in volume. But in terms of value, leaf tea market comes upto 300-400 per cent.

Has the leaf tea market come of age? Are you variegating yourself to catch up with competition from other leaf tea brands like Typhoo and smaller brands like Kamelia Teas?
We cannot really say that the market is coming of age compared to other segments as its average value in India is very low compared to that in other countries, like Ireland. As for competition, we would like to maintain that our focus is on consumers and not on our competitors.

There has been the trend of the Indian market tilting pronouncedly towards the tea bag category.Is this trend sustainable? What is the client base in this category for the market as a whole? How have you fared on the tea bag front?

Consumers find it easy and convenient to prepare green tea as they come in easy dip bags. A regular office-goer would find it easier to use a tea bag rather than granular or a tea leaf variant. From our market study, we can tell that a lot of Indian consumers are incorporating wellness products into their daily diet regime. In India, growth of tea bags is 10 per cent per annum.

What’s the retail and distribution strategy for your green tea category?

For retail, we have done some predictive analysis on which outlets and geographies will respond in a particular manner. Based on this analysis, we are expanding the distribution of Tetley.

What is your strategy for the organic tea category?

Being the pioneers in the green tea segment in India, we have seen a big surge in the consumption of organic tea across India, in recent times.

As a natural beverage tea player, we want to educate our consumers about the health and wellness benefits of this product and spread this awareness across the country. We also aim to explore the Indian organic tea market by introducing newer exciting flavours.  

How does TGBL plan to increase its market share in the green tea segment?

We have about 20 per cent market share. With the launch of these new green tea variants, we are confident that the company will further consolidate its grip on the market in the coming months.

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