India to promote local tea at London Olympics

July 25, 2012
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Leading Indian tea companies will be displaying their brands at the Olympics/XINHUA
KOLKATA, India, Jul 25 – The Indian government will promote Indian tea at the London Olympics in a bid to capture the tea market in India’s formal colonial master.

In an interview with Xinhua, Tea Board of India chairman MGVK Bhanu said the United Kingdom is a “very important” market for Indian tea.

Bhanu said that during the London Olympics people from all over the world will to there. “It will be an excellent opportunity for us to showcase Indian tea there. We hope to receive a very good response,” he said.

Bhanu, along with Tea Board’s tea promotion deputy director Nandini Datta, will personally oversee the Indian tea exhibition in London.

According to Datta, Britons have emotional attachment to Indian tea having enjoyed the beverage during the long years of British rule of the Indian continent.

“We would be showcasing a basket of some of the best teas of India during the event. It would also show the strengthening of Indo-British trade ties through tea,” Datta said.

Leading Indian tea companies such as McLeod Russel India, Ltd ( MRIL), Goodricke, Ambootia, Apeejay Tea and Bagaria will be displaying their brands at the Olympics.

The best of their teas will be sampled at Heathrow Airport, Harrods, Southbank Centre and other prominent places in London during this period. Industry officials say there will be a buyer- seller encounter with select UK tea traders.

S.S. Bagaria, chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association, said that selected Indian teas will be on display at Harrods from July 27 to August 12. The Bagaria group’s teas from Phuguri and Orange Valley in Darjeeling district in eastern Indian state of West Bengal will be displayed at Harrods.

“This will help the Indian tea industry in reaching out to international tourists, who will be there during the London Olympics. There will be a tea tasting session by the internationally famous tea specialist Jane Pattigrew as well,” Bagaria said.

Jane Pattigrew is a tea specialist, historian, writer and consultant. Since 1983, she has been on a mission to make tea popular in the United Kingdom.

Sanjay Bansal, owner of the second largest Darjeeling tea company, the Ambootia group, said: “We will offer some of our best brands of tea in the exhibition as well as at Harrods,”

At the tea exhibition, MRIL will showcase black tea as well green tea. The exhibition will be held on August 1 followed by a buyer-seller meet on August 2.

MRIL director Azam Monem said that Indian tea companies are expecting a huge turnout at the exhibition.

“This will give Indian tea companies a chance to showcase their products not only to Britons but also to other foreigners watching the Olympic Games,” Monem said.

The Indian tea industry is concerned over declining exports to the UK market over the last few years.

The Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) has forecast that Britons will be consuming 15 percent less tea by 2021. Tea exports from India to the UK have dwindled to 16 million kg from 22 million kg over the last five years.

The UK consumes 100 million kg of tea annually, of which nearly 60 million kg are imported from Africa. The UK is gradually leaning towards tea variants such as camomile tea and lemon tea in which tea content is lesser.

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