Green tea & mint: Twinings tunes into new territory

Twinings India, a part of UK-based food major, Associated British Foods, known for its premium-flavoured teabags, is looking at expanding its reach in tier-II cities. The brand is now available in 30 cities. It is targeting to enter 300 cities in the next five years. Twinning is looking at roping in a brand ambassador by January 2010. The company has earmarked Rs 50 crore for the coming five years.

“Our claim to fame is tea for every mood and moment. So far we have 15 varieties in India out of the 200 global blends of tea. In India, Twinings is available in only 30 cities and our next level of marketing is to get into tier-II cities. We are in the process of shortlisting celebrities to rope in a brand ambassador by next year. There is also the option of signing multiple celebrities,” said Suresh Iyer, managing director, Twinings India.

In India, the tea market is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore out of which Rs 4,200 crore is the packaged tea market. Almost 20 per cent of this is the premium tea segment in which super-premium tea contributes as much as 25 per cent. “Globally, India will be the top two market in terms of growth rate in three years. All our efforts will definitely double our growth in three years and triple it in five years,” said Iyer.
According to Iyer, the company enjoys around 35 per cent market share in the premium teabag category, thus making it one of the leading players in the teabag industry in India today. “Although we operate in the super-premium teabag segment, our close competitors would be Tetley from Tata, Taj Mahal from Brooke Bond, Lipton, and Dilmah, a Sri Lankan brand of tea bags,” said Iyer.

The Twinings venture in the domestic market began with brands like Earl Grey, Lemon, English Breakfast and Darjeeling Tea in 1997. In 2002, trial packs of Lemon & Earl Grey were launched in the market with the objective of increasing its consumer base by generating trials. In 2003, Classic Assam was launched in India followed by the launch of Cardamom in 2005. In 2007 the health and wellness range was introduced with green tea, camomile and peppermint. Recently, it has launched interesting flavours: green tea & lemon and green tea and mint.

Financial Chronicle