The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medicinal plants add new flavour to Tata Tea

Munnar, Kerala, March 26: Tata Tea has decided to diversify into the business of growing medicinal plants in a bid to shore up its bottomline.

Executive director V. Venkiteswaran said: “We have decided to take this up as another line of business. The medicinal plants will be grown at our south Indian gardens and sold to ayurvedic institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Some of these firms have already shown some interest. We can develop it into a big business in future.”

The company is in talks with Kottakal Arya Vaidsala, a famous ayurvedic institute, to sell its products. The company can grow about 70 different kinds of medicinal plants at its south Indian gardens.

“We are already producing these varieties on a small scale. But we plan to start production on a commercial scale,” he added.

About 15 years ago, the company used to grow medicinal plants for heart diseases that were sold to Wyeth Laboratories, Venkitswaran said.

“The company, however, did not pursue this line of business. But now we have decided to develop this area as it could earn some revenue for the company,” he said.

With margins under pressure, the company has also firmed up plans to produce larger volumes of organic tea for export to European countries and the US.

Iced tea from Tetley

Tata Tea will launch iced tea under the Tetley brand in another six months to take on Hindustan Lever, which has already entered the iced tea market.

“The work has already begun. We are testing the products in Bangalore. We will soon appoint a marketing research company to do a test marketing exercise,” Venkiteswaran said.

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