Goodricke to launch ready-to-drink products by December

Tea plantation company Goodricke Group Ltd is gearing up to launch ready-to-drink cold beverage product by December this year, a top official said here Tuesday.

'Over 250 million bottles of our ready-to-drink variety will be available in three flavours - peach, lemon and orange,' company managing director A.N. Singh told reporters on the sidelines of the annual general meeting.

Goodricke, whose gardens are spread over Darjeeling and Dooars in West Bengal, and Assam, would use the Goodricke brand owned by the UK-based parent company Camellia Plc as an umbrella brand for the ready-to-drink segment till the exact name is finalised.

Country's largest tea company Tata Tea had last month announced its foray into the tea and fruit-based cold beverage market with the launch of T!ON brand.

Talking about Goodricke's tea business, Singh said the company has plans to reduce sale of tea from its Darjeeling gardens through the auction route and shift more quantity to the retail market.

'By reducing the share of sale through auction from the present 70 percent to 50 percent within the next three years, we would be saving on costs incurred in putting the tea to auction,' Singh said.

In a bid to increase retail sale, the company has recently opened a tea lounge and has entered into distribution tie-ups with shopping malls, he added.

The share of packet tea sales, which currently stands at 5 percent of 21.52 million kg tea manufactured in 2008, would be doubled to 10 percent in three years, Singh said.

The profit after tax of the company for 2008 was Rs.l7.58 crore, up from Rs.7.74 crore in 2007.