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Assam tea most recognised: Study

FINE BREW

Guwahati: A study on domestic consumption of tea in the country, undertaken by the Tea Board of India, has revealed that awareness about Assam tea is the highest across the country followed by Darjeeling tea.

The board commissioned the study to understand consumption trends and purchase behaviours of consumers in the Indian tea market. It said the findings of the study are expected to bring out current and evolving trends which can be used as inputs for formulation of a domestic promotion strategy.

The board had engaged Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, a private firm, to conduct the study and made public an executive summary of it on Thursday.

On awareness, perceptions and emerging trends, the study said Assam tea and Darjeeling tea are the most recognised teas going by place of origin.

"Awareness about origin of tea is correlated with proximity of a state with a tea-producing region. As a result, awareness about Darjeeling tea is high in the eastern region while that about Nilgiri tea is high in the southern region. The awareness level about Assam tea is the highest across India followed by Darjeeling tea," the study said.

Assam produced 675.17 million kg of tea last year out of total tea production of 1,321.76 million kg.

Mrigendra Jalan, a tea planter associated with the Bharatiya Cha Parishad, said: "Hand-holding of small tea growers is required so that they can produce quality leaves which in turn will give them much higher returns as per kg leaf price will go up substantially. Otherwise, with coarse plucking, Assam tea will lose its distinct and unique character."

The study suggests that tea consumption in the country is skewed towards the northern and western parts. The percentage contribution from the northern states is 32 while that from the western region is 31.

"The relatively low consumption belts of the eastern region (including the Northeast) accounts for 19 per cent while the southern states contribute 18 per cent of the total domestic consumption of tea," it said.

According to the study, most people are aware of tea in general which is testified by high penetration level among households while awareness level about green tea is slowly making inroads.

"Green tea is fast becoming a popular drink across all ages due to its perceived health benefits and is fast becoming one of the popular products in the health and wellness segment. The awareness level is especially high in the metro cities or in regions where non-milk tea consumption is more than the national average."

On preferences, it said consumers preferring packet tea because of its perceived quality (adulteration free) and better storage options. "The proportion of loose tea is comparatively higher in the eastern and central states compared to the rest of the country," the study said.

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