Premium tea allure for GenY: UN report


Guwahati: A United Nations panel on tea has said a growing, increasingly urban, and young population segment entering the middle class is prepared to consume more and pay for premium tea products.

"These changes have the potential to develop into a stronger and longer trend, which could characterise global tea consumption patterns for decades," says a report of Food and Agriculture Organisation, a UN agency. The report, Emerging Trends in Tea Consumption: Informing a Generic Promotion Process, will be placed before the 23rd session of Intergovernmental Group on Tea at Hangzhou in China from May 17-20.

A 14-member delegation from India, headed by Tea Board of India chairman P.K. Bezboruah, will attend the meet. The Food and Agriculture Organisation-Intergovernmental Group on Tea represents a forum for inter-governmental consultation and exchange on trends in production, consumption, trade and prices of tea.

The forum said the growth in tea consumption is being reinforced by rapid growth in per capita income, particularly in emerging economies.

Raj Barooah, a tea planter from Jorhat district who sells Assam speciality tea through www.rujanitea.com, an online store, said, "That's the belief I stand committed to as my company aspires to present its unique tea in varied forms, flavours and character."

The new segment of consumers is willing to pay for quality products as they want the best. "But as tea planters, we must also learn about the internationally accepted standards of quality," he said.

"Our tea farms have the potential to become power houses of international standards as Assam is blessed with a unique terroir and this, along with Yunnan in China, forms the home of the tea plant," Barooah added.

The UN panel said India, despite its tea culture, does not rank among the top tea-consuming countries.

It said young people representing a rapidly growing segment of the market are continuously searching for personal experiences with fashionable products. It said faster and more convenient ways of preparing tea are also driven by new consumption gadgets and forms of packaging. "Numerous alternatives to the traditional teabag have been developed. Some, such as instant teas, are becoming increasingly customary," it added.


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