Tata launches Ceylon tea under Tetley brand in Canada

Tata Global Beverages, part of India’s Tata conglomerate, has launched a Ceylon tea product under the Tetley brand in Canada, indicating continued interest in the island’s best known brand name despite fears it has gone out of fashion. Tetley is the second largest tea brand globally, and is considered the top brand in the Canadian market, one of Tetley’s largest and most successful markets.

In Canada, the increased variety of specialty teas and increased consumer awareness of the health benefits of drinking tea are attracting new consumers, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a government department.

Tetley’s tea is supplied by Watawala Plantations, which is managed by Estate Management Services (Private) Limited, a joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, India, of which the Tetley Group is a member.

Tata Global Beverages is marketing Sri Lankan tea in markets where Tata Global Beverages holds a strong position, its Managing Director Harish Bhat said during a recent visit to Sri Lanka earlier this year.

The announcement about the launch of Ceylon tea in Canada was made by Tata Global Beverages when it announced its results for last year. “In Canada we launched two premium tea products – Tetley Ceylon and Tetley English Breakfast tea,” it said.

tea imports

Tea imports to Canada are predominately black tea, at 81% of total tea imports. Canada imports from major tea producers, such as India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, China as well as the UK and the U.S. Tetley also buys tea from Kenya, and has launched a new blend in the UK called ‘Tetley Estate Selection’, incorporating the best Kenyan teas. Tetley was attracted to packaging operations in Sri Lanka by Watawala’s concept of ‘plantation fresh’, where tea is directly sourced from the plantations.

Watawala Plantations began packaging and exporting pure Ceylon tea under the Tetley brand name in October 2010. At the time it said projected volumes for Tetley ‘plantation fresh Ceylon tea’ are expected to cross 100 million teabags a year.

The packaging for Tetley is done at the export packing facility of Watawala Plantations, in packets of 25 and 100 teabags and is packed into shelf-ready tray cartons. The Tetley brand was previously packed in the UK and India.

Watawala is one of the few regional plantations companies that has developed its own tea brands in the local market and has also diversified.

The company owns the biggest palm oil acreage in the island. In June, Pyramid Wilmar Plantations, part of the Wilmar International edible oil business based in Singapore, acquired a stake in Watawala.