Tata Tea, the largest tea company by volume in the world’s largest tea market, India, has announced a strategic foray into the out-of-home beverage segment, unveiling its first outlet of ‘Chai Unchai’ at the IIM Bangalore campus.
A step both bold (the South being traditionally coffee-drinking) and revealing (of changing demographics, changing tastes and the cosmopolitan ambience of Bangalore), Chai Unchai is aimed at serving the distinct lifestyle needs of today’s youth. Outlets are planned to cover the length and breadth of the country over the next 5-7 years, to attain market leadership in this segment. Locations typically targeted will be shopping malls, colleges, university campuses and similar public places where youth can find space to relax.
Unveiling the first Chai Unchai outlet, Sangeeta Talwar, Tata Tea’s Executive Director, said, “Chai Unchai is crafted as a unique retail space in the out-of-home segment that connects with youth in an exciting and differentiated manner. The new “adda” hangout is designed to be cool -- neither a kiosk nor a parlour, and with an ambience that is warm, friendly, unpretentious and fun. The outlet offers both tea and non-tea beverages with a range of unique snack offerings especially designed for it. Chai Unchai is another first in the industry in the way it has been conceptualised and executed.”
Pankaj Dant, General Manager, Marketing & Sales, disclosed, “Our research showed that this segment has a huge opportunity as consumers are constantly looking at different options for a satisfying out-of-home beverage experience. The design for the outlet has come out of a need expressed by the younger generation for a place where they can just be themselves.”
Tata Tea today boasts an enviable range of offerings and diversity in its customer base, having recently acquired Eight O’ Clock Coffee and Good Earth in the US, Jemca in the Czech Republic, and the trademarks, Vitax and Flosana, in Poland. Its JV in China, with Zhejiang Tea Import & Export (ZTIE) Company, will enable manufacture and marketing of green tea polyphenols, other green tea extracts, cold and hot water soluble instant tea, liquid tea concentrates and other value added tea beverage products.
Tata Tea Inc., a subsidiary company in US, is involved in the marketing and value addition of tea extracts. The recently acquired management control of Mount Everest Mineral Water Company has also extended Tata Tea’s growth plans in India and the global marketplace.
Tata Tea already has five big-selling brands in the Indian market. Its foray in the domestic retail sector is therefore nicely balanced by the expansion of its global footprint: with the acquisition of Tetley Group in 2000, Tata Tea is now the second largest global branded tea operation, with products present in more than 40 countries. Its credentials, however, do not hinge on Tetley.
Besides the powerful equity of brand Tata, Tata Tea is the new avatar, from 1983, of the Tata Finlay Company, a joint venture formed in 1964 with Finlay & Co., an iconic presence in tea for many generations.