Tea in India is a social ingredient. The country is the second largest producer of tea in the world and accounts for the highest tea consumption globally. In India, tea is produced in 15 states. Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu account for 97% of India’s total tea production. During 2016 -2017, the overall production of tea increased by 17.35 million kg over 2015-2016. This increase could be attributed to good climatic conditions that prevailed in the northern part of India.
Allied Market Research, a market research company, informed, “The global tea market was valued at $46,392 million in 2016, and it is projected to reach $67,751 million by 2023. It is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5% from 2017 to (estimated) 2023.” According to the 63rd Annual Report, 2016-2017 of the Tea Board of India, “Production of tea in India during 2016 was 1267 million kg and the global share was 23%. Export of tea from India during 2016-2017 was 222 million kg and the global share was 12%.” The specialty tea market in India is on an upward trend and will continue to grow exponentially over the next few years. Tata and the Hindustan Unilever are the two most important players. Additionally, Taj Mahal, Tetley, Twining, Typhoo, Dilmah, Organic, and other regional brands are featuring well with more than 50 flavours in India.
According to the Tea Board of India, around 80% of the total tea produced in India is consumed by the domestic population. Recently, there has been a growth of the exotic flavoured tea market. Health benefits of green tea include antioxidant and weight-loss properties. This has ensured a surge of demand for green tea. On the other hand, flavoured teas receive special attention because of its enhanced taste. Though the prices of flavoured teas are quite high, the taste and sophistication factors are drawing customers. Consequently, companies are introducing attractive flavoured teas with flavours such as chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint and ayurveda teas containing tulsi, basil and ginger.
Incorporated in 2017, Oh Cha, a popular boutique tea company operating in the flavoured tea market is offering affordable flavoured tea to their customers. The brand is offering Classic Teas (which include jasmine, spiced vanilla, chamomile, lemongrass ginger, orange cinnamon and the like), Dessert Teas (red velvet, candied apple, blueberry cheesecake, mint milk choco chip and choco vanilla swirl), and Exclusive Teas (whisky and white) with a totally fresh perspective.
Pallavi Kanoi, Founder, Oh Cha, informed BE, “As a 100-year-old tea family, we are one of the few organisations that have a division dedicated to the private labels for various tea brands and a division that retails directly to consumers. This exposure has enabled us to collect a plethora of relevant information to service both the segments effectively. Our strength lies in adapting quickly to market changes and developing new relevant products.” Currently, the company is well-established in the wholesale market but is also expanding its base in the retail market. It is using several online and offline platforms to sell and popularise its products. It is looking to target the affluent sections for sale of their products. The company’s target customers range from experimental tea lovers, luxury gift givers to corporates looking to add tea to their product portfolio. Oh Cha’s packed teas like Mint Milk Choco Chip, Red Velvet, and Spiced Vanilla are being considered well-valued gift items.
With the expansion of the tea cafe industry in India, the specialty tea market is growing rapidly responding to newer taste preferences. Companies like Oh Cha are also keen on introducing new flavours in the market. The surging demand of flavoured tea is providing substantial opportunity to the tea industry in India.