Calcutta: Gujarat is the biggest consumer of tea among Indian states, followed by Haryana and Goa, a study commissioned by the Tea Board India and conducted by Deloitte has found.
The study, the most comprehensive one to be done in a decade to measure consumption habit in India - the world's second largest producer of tea - suggests that abundance of milk availability could be the driver for higher consumption.
The per capita consumption of tea stood at 0.78 kg last year in India, nearly half of Pakistan, which consumes 1.5 kg. Turkey is the biggest consumer of the beverage (above 3 kg per person a year).
"Indians love to add milk to their tea and wherever milk is abundant, consumption is high," Arun Kumar Ray, deputy chairman of the Tea Board India, said.
Punjab, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh are some of the top states consuming over a kg. An average person in Bengal, home to world famous Darjeeling tea, consumes less than the national average at 0.705 kg.
Ray, who joined the board about a month ago, said there would have to be a concerted effort to popularise tea among young kids. "While tea is consumed in age groups between 1-12 in several countries, this is not a practice in India, despite tea having many health benefits," he said.
The study also found out that consumers' buying patterns have changed. Close to 80 per cent of urban and 75 per cent of rural households shifted to packet tea because of its perceived quality and better storage options, S. Soundararajan, director (tea development) of the Tea Board, said. Buying of loose tea is still prevalent in eastern and central India. Modern retail has become the second largest channel for buying tea, followed by small stores. Consumption of green tea and ready-to-drink tea is growing too.
On the Tea Board's restructuring, Ray said it would be focusing on quality of tea, especially by small growers. The board will also restructure its operations, reducing manpower by natural attrition.