The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tatas now brew tea parlour plan

Calcutta, Aug. 27: Having tasted success with Barista coffee pubs, Tata Tea plans to set up tea parlours across the country as part of its effort to introduce out-of-the-home products this fiscal.

The largest tea producer in the country also plans to launch a brand in the premium segment in the current financial year.

Tata Tea has a 34.3 per cent stake in Barista.

“We plan to enter the out-of-the-home segment this fiscal and setting up tea parlours is one of the options. It is being considered but not yet finalised. However, we will not use Barista coffee outlets for marketing our tea in the out-of-home segment,” deputy managing director P.T. Siganporia told The Telegraph.

Sources say Tata Tea is looking at the option of setting up tea parlours following rumours that rival Hindustan Lever is also weighing a similar option.

The company is also restructuring its sales and distribution network to recapture the market it lost last year in the packet tea segment.

Siganporia said the company has adopted a “stage-and-gate” model for a systematic deployment of resources for new product development. “Currently the work is on for developing new products. Once it is in place we will come up with new offerings in the market,” he said.

Tata Tea’s packet tea division at Bangalore markets teas under brand names such as Chakra Gold, Gemini and Agni. A low-priced variant called Agni Sholay was launched last year. Tata Tea Premium Leaf and Kanan Devan are the company’s major plantation polypack brands. It has also introduced another product—“Temptation”—an orthodox tea of Assam.

“The organised packet tea market has declined 6-7 per cent. Relaunch of the Kanan Devan brand in south India has resulted in higher sales volumes. All our initiatives are aimed at recapturing lost markets,” Siganporia said.

The company has also decided to produce more orthodox teas this year for getting a better price not only in India but abroad as well. Prices of south Indian teas have improved to some extent due to better quality, the deputy managing director added.

Tea from the company’s south Indian gardens—Malakiparai and Kanniamallay—are fetching good prices at the auctions.

The company has also appointed Accenture to look into misuse of inventory lines from sourcing of tea to its sale.

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