Holiday Consumers Lose Confidence Before Black Friday Sales Begin | YouGov Survey of American Shoppers Finds 52% Won’t Shop on Black Friday | Tanzania Debuts Digital Tea Auction in Dar es Salaam | Tea Barter: Cash Short Egypt Offers Kenya a Blank Check
Tea News for the week ending Nov. 17
India News Update
Tanzania is the third-largest tea producer in Africa. Smallholders there farm 48% of the country’s 23,800 hectares under tea. Data from the Tea Board of Tanzania (TBT) estimates that 32,000 tea smallholders collectively produce about 40% of the country’s green leaf. As Director General, Theophord C. Ndunguru is the voice of the Tanzania Smallholders Tea Development Agency (TSHTDA). In October, I traveled to Dar es Salaam to talk with Theophord and fellow tea board members to better understand the state of tea smallholders. Today’s report is an excerpt from our discussion.
The East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA), which runs the Mombasa tea auction, said the competing auction did not impact prices at its twice-weekly sales. The East African reported Mombasa could lose 25% of its current volume if Dar es Salaam meets its goal of selling 65,000 metric tons weekly. Mombasa is the world’s largest tea auction by volume and, in 1992, became the first tea auction outside London to sell teas from multiple origins. Sales of teas from ten countries are offered year-round. The auction handled as much as 545 million kilos before the pandemic, but volume fell to 482 million kilograms of tea in 2022.
ARC Mountain received the auction high of 92 cents per kilo of PF1 (Pekoe Fanning) grade tea. PF1 generated $10,265 in sales, averaging 87 cents per kilo. Secondary grades averaged 70 cents per kilo. Total sales were $24,024, according to Vision Tea Brokers.
Tea Board of Tanzania (TBT) Director General Mary Kipeja said the Dar es Salaam auction will lower costs, increase transparency, and make Tanzania a regional hub providing services to tea-growing countries in East Africa. Agriculture Ministry Permanent Secretary Gerald Mweli attended the auction and drew the praise of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
The auction and related infrastructure improvements are part of the national 10-Year Industry Strategy adopted by Parliament. The program calls for increasing tea production from 33,000 tons of made tea to 90,000 tons annually by fiscal 2029/30.
Players in the value chain will benefit, including buyers, brokers, warehouse operators, and transporters, and the port facilities at Tanga and Dar es Salaam, said Kipeja. “More Tanzanians will also be enticed with interests in tea cultivation and management, increasing production and quality of the produce,” she said.
Sales of Tanzanian tea for export currently generate an average of $60 million in foreign exchange revenue. Direct employment is 50,000 and rising.
Holiday Shopping Sentiment Survey Foretells a Bleak Friday
By Dan Bolton
A YouGov survey of American shoppers finds 52% don’t plan to shop on Black Friday this year. Twenty-eight percent say they have shopped Black Friday deals in the past and will not do so. They were labeled “rejecters” in the survey analysis. Many will shop online on Cyber Monday, and others will wait for last-minute deals. Thirty-three percent remain enthusiastic and will shop again this year. In 2022, 73 million shoppers turned out, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), which is down from the 84 million who shopped in-store in 2019. Concerns about personal finances led 24% of respondents who have shopped on Black Friday to skip it this year, reflecting declining consumer confidence.
The Conference Board ranking of Consumer Confidence fell to a five-month low in October, along with the first decline in retail sales decline since March. Hiring slowed, inflation eased, and economists confidently predicted the economy was cooling, not crashing (like they predicted this time last year).
Rising prices for everyday products, rising interest, and rising credit card debt are to blame. Accenture forecasts negative growth, citing that only one in five (17%) consumers feel optimistic about their financial situation.
Unemployment remains low, but fewer respondents said jobs were “plentiful,” and almost 14% of consumers said they could lose their jobs next year.
The New York Federal Reserve said credit card debt reached $1 trillion earlier this year, and nearly 60% of consumers are worried about their ability to get more credit.
The Wall Street Journal writes, “Retail figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, so slower spending partly reflects the cost for many goods that have fallen in recent months. Those include used vehicles, electronics, and groceries like milk and eggs. Any cooling in consumer demand will soothe worries that the summer’s spending surge would sustain higher inflation. A slowdown could raise hopes that inflation will return to its prepandemic norm without a recession, a so-called soft landing.”
In short, the holidays will be filled with cheer, but a Forbes reporter advised retailers that “V-U-C-A – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous – is the watchword for how retailers must approach this holiday season and 2024 after that.” The caution is attributed to the NRF, which predicted a sales increase of 6-8% last holiday season. Sales advanced only 5.3% in 2022. The NRF expects November and December sales to grow by 3-4% due to greater economic headwinds.
Tea retailers appear to follow the advice to promote the holiday season as early as September and not let up. High inventory is behind deep discounting as Black Friday looms. Tea Biz is talking to tea retailers and will report their results after US Thanksgiving.
Tea Barter: Egypt Offers Kenya a Blank Check
A shortage of foreign exchange dollars and a bounty of Kenyan tea led Egypt to propose a barter for un-named goods valued at parity. According to the UN COMTRADE database, Egypt imported $243 million of Kenyan tea last year.
Egyptian and Kenyan officials are meeting to reach a deal.
Eqypt is a major importer of black CTC (cut, tear, curl), spending $275 million annually. Kenya is the principal supplier, with an 89% share.
Last year, Egypt bought $8 million worth of tea from the UAE (accounting for a 3% share of tea imports), $8 million from Sri Lanka (also 3%), $2.6 million from India, and $2.5 million from China.
Tea imports, overall, have declined from a recent high of more than $345 million in 2014 to a pandemic low of $197 million in 2020.
Egypt and Kenya are both facing unprecedented scarcity of dollars, according to Ventures Africa. Since last October, the Kenyan shilling has lost almost 24% of its value against the US dollar. The Egyptian pound has declined 50% in value following three rounds of devaluation.
There is a long tradition of bartering agricultural products from Egyptian-grown rice, onions, garlic, nuts, cotton, essential oils, and citrus fruit. But experts say barter is unlikely to ease the hard currency crunch in Africa.
– Dan Bolton
Tanzania Tea Confronts an Array of Challenges with Zeal
By Dan Bolton
Tanzania is the third-largest tea producer in Africa. Smallholders farm 48% of the country’s 23,800 hectares under tea. Data from the Tea Board of Tanzania (TBT) estimates that 32,000 tea smallholders collectively produce about 40% of the country’s green leaf. The economy in this country of 68 million is mainly agrarian. There are approximately 3.7 smallholdings of 2.2 hectares or less. “The tea industry in Tanzania is currently going through several challenges and constraints. But the government of Tanzania has started taking very strong and robust measures to make sure that all these challenges are sorted out,” says Ndunguru.
Share Episode 143 | Holiday Consumers Lose Confidence Before Black Friday Sales Begin | YouGov Survey of American Shoppers Finds 52% Won’t Shop on Black Friday | Tanzania Debuts Digital Tea Auction in Dar es Salaam | Tea Barter: Cash Short Egypt Offers Kenya a Blank Check | PLUS Tanzania is the third-largest tea producer in Africa. Smallholders there farm 48% of the country’s 23,800 hectares under tea, producing 40% of the country’s green leaf. In October, I traveled to Dar es Salaam to talk with Tanzania Smallholders Tea Development Agency Director General Theophord C. Ndunguru and fellow tea board members to better understand the state of tea smallholders. This report is an excerpt from our discussion.
Starbucks Announces Ambitious Global Expansion to Operate 55,000 Locations by 2030: Tea Played a Key Role in the Siren’s Record-setting Quarter | Bangladesh May Finally Break an Elusive Tea Production Record | Research Findings Challenge the Belief that Adding Cream and Sugar to Tea Negatively Impacts Health Outcomes
Tea News for the week ending Nov. 10
PLUS | In October, Transworld, China’s first USDA-certified organic tea producer, and Firsd Tea, the US subsidiary of Zhejiang Tea Group, released the Chinese Tea Sustainability Report, a 12-page survey of perspectives and practices at Chinese tea farms and processing facilities. Jason Walker, marketing director at Firsd Tea in New Jersey and one of the architects of the sustainability report, joins Tea Biz for an in-depth discussion of the results of this ongoing survey.
Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan announced a record $9.4 billion fourth quarter to close a $36 billion fiscal year. Revenue was up 12% year-to-year.
The company will expand to 55,000 locations by 2030, 75% overseas.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Rachel Ruggeri said, “Our customers continue to favor more premium beverages, creating a new normal for mix and customization. To fuel this, we continue to lean in with innovation, offering our Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte, which boosted tea sales, and Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam, which has become a customization favorite with our customers.”
Gingerbread chai is a hit, I recommend it, Narasimhan told Mad Money host Jim Cramer. Cold beverages, including tea and coffee, are driving sales. Customers add modifiers to cold drinks at a greater rate than hot, and it’s an easier process through the app than anywhere else. These transactions raise ticket and produce personal branding for Gen Z to broadcast via social, according to Ruggeri.
During the past five years, Starbucks opened 9,000 new stores, 7,000 outside the US. In 2023, foreign locations, including 1,429 in Canada, outnumber for the first time the 16,255 US stores. There are now 6,800 stores in China. Starbucks said it will open an average of eight stores daily, many specially purposed as drive-thru only, double-sided drive-thru, and delivery-only locations. Drive-thru transactions account for 50% of US sales; delivery orders expanded by 24% in 2022. During its year-end earnings call, Narasimhan said the company will spend $3 billion in capital expenditures and grow to 41,000 locations by October 2024.
“Our reinvention [announced in September 2022] is moving ahead of schedule, fueling revenue growth, efficiency, and margin expansion,” said Narasimhan.
BIZ INSIGHT – Tea accounts for about 10-20% of beverage sales at coffee shops. Locations serving a wide range of hot and cold teas can increase that share to 20-30% or more. Beverage sales at Starbucks, including tea, generated about 75-80% of revenue, totaling $19.6 billion in FY22, with food products totaling $5.8 billion. Packaged and single-serve coffees and Teavana teas, ready-to-drink products, serveware, and ingredients contributed $6.9 billion, according to the company’s SEC 10-K filings.
Bangladesh May Finally Break an Elusive Record
By Dan Bolton
During the past decade, the 168 registered tea producers in Bangladesh, encouraged by industry stakeholders, have tried, and tried again to produce 100 million kilos of tea.
Those familiar with the adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again,” know the real mistake is to stop trying.
Ispahani’s Mirzapore Tea Estate is 50,000 to 80,000 kilos of green leaf daily into the factory’s black CTC (cut, tear, curl).
It is a historic year, say producers. The growing season started dry, with only 99 millimeters of rainfall recorded in April. At the start of the second flush in May, the country was wet again, and in June, a staggering 995 millimeters deluged the tea lands. July and August totals exceeded expectations at 300+ millimeters, with steady rains through September.
The rainfall led to rapid sprouting of tea buds and record yields per hectare. In 2022, Bangladesh harvested 94 million kilos, a setback from the previous year when harvest totals reached 96.5 million kilos, the current record.
According to the Bangladesh Tea Board, Rajghat Tea Garden in Mouvibazar achieved 470 kilos per acre, about 70 kilos more per acre than any garden in the country. The Consolidated Tea and Lands Company garden produced 2.7 million kilos in 2023. Moulvibazar’s 90 tea gardens account for 55% of the production. Habiganj comes in second, contributing 22% of the tea produced.
Tahsin Ahmed Chowdhury, chief operating officer for estates of the Consolidated Tea and Lands Company (Bangladesh), told the Daily Star, “In recent years, while the industry has been facing irrigation problems due to adverse weather conditions, we have been benefiting from our irrigation system.”
The tea board has not released an official tally, but it now looks like Bangladesh will surge past 100 million kilos to set a 169-year record. Production through September was 69 million kilos, ahead of September 2022 (64 million kilos year to date) and September 2021 (65 million kilos year to date). A strong October and November guarantee the country will meet its production target of 102 million kilos.
Bangladesh is the world’s eighth largest tea producer, accounting for about 2% of global production.
New Research Challenges the Belief that Adding Cream and Sugar to Tea Negatively Impacts Health Outcomes
Medical researchers from Denmark, the UK, and The Netherlands studied whether a daily spoonful of sugar taken with coffee or tea is harmful, publishing their findings in the Oct. 18 edition of the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.
Consuming excess sugar can lead to health issues from obesity and heart disease to tooth decay, but adding sugar to coffee or tea did not pose additional health risks in a longitudinal study of males that dates to the 1970s.
The Copenhagen Male Study identified healthy men ages 40-59 at the onset of the long-term assessment of heart and lung health, diabetes, cancer, and related morbidity. Extensive testing with periodic follow-up has enabled researchers to analyze data from the 2,923 participating men. Complete medical records are available for 99% of participants.
“Overall, they did not find a significant risk for health issues in people in the sugar group versus the “no sugar” group, reports Medical News Today. “The sugar group’s death rate was 89.9%, and the “no sugar” group’s death rate was 87.5%. Over time, there was no statistically significant association between the use of sugar in coffee and tea and all-cause mortality.”
In terms of heart disease mortality, the sugar group also had a slightly higher — but comparable — rate. The sugar group’s rate was 38.2%, while the “no sugar” group’s rate was 35.3%.
Those consuming sugar have a 1% greater likelihood of developing diabetes compared to the “no sugar” group. “When correcting for confounders, there was no statistically significant association between the use of sugar in coffee and tea and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, cancer mortality, or incident diabetes mellitus,” according to researchers.
ED Note: The American Heart Association recommends no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar for men and six teaspoons for women per day.
– Dan Bolton
Tea Sustainability Perspectives and Practices
By Dan Bolton
According to Jason Walker, most respondents to the 2023 Sustainability Perspectives survey have an improved outlook on progress made in sustainability in the last ten years. They also view present-day efforts more favorably and predict an increased improvement trajectory in the next ten years, adds Walker, 46, one of the architects of the Chinese Tea Sustainability Report. Walker is the Marketing Director at Firsd Tea in New Jersey. His expertise includes business development, market research, and tasting.
“China set [sustainability] standards, especially domestically, for tea. About 85% of China’s tea stays in China. They said, ‘We have to protect our people and raise our standards internally as well.’” he said. Read more…
Share Episode 142 | Starbucks Announces Ambitious Global Expansion to Operate 55,000 Locations by 2030 | Tea Played a Key Role in the Siren’s Record-setting $9.4 Billion Quarter | Bangladesh May Finally Break an Elusive Tea Production Record | Research Findings Challenge the Belief that Adding Cream and Sugar to Tea Negatively Impacts Health Outcomes PLUS Jason Walker, marketing director at Firsd Tea in New Jersey and one of the architects of the Chinese Sustainability Perspectives report, joins Tea Biz for an in-depth discussion of the results of this ongoing survey.
UK Tea Academy Announces 2023 Winners of The Leafies | Rooibos Tea Named a Top 10 Pantone Color for 2024 | FSSAI Steps Up Safety Analysis of Indian Tea Factories
Tea News for the week ending Nov. 3
PLUS | Tea was first cultivated in what is now Tanzania by German colonists early in the 20th century. Farms were planted high in the Usambara Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro rising vertically from the plains. The region was known as Tanga and would later, under British rule, become Tanganyika. The UK greatly expanded tea production through the 1960s and remains a major trading partner with the Republic of Tanzania. Joining us today is Steve Anyango, an expert strategist in commodity trading and logistics with deep ties to tea. Steve is Managing Director, Nemooneh Iranian Food & Beverage Industries.
Winners of The Leafies are celebrating worldwide this week following an award ceremony at the Asia House attended by 100 guests, including Tea Biz London correspondent and PMD Tea Managing Director Dananjaya Silva.
This year’s competition attracted 320 teas. Contenders were divided by type, region, and processing into 48 categories. Twenty-five of the award-winning teas were sampled after the award presentation, which included judges, winners, and beverage executives from sponsor Fortnum & Mason.
Twelve judges representing eight nationalities were awarded 13 Gold awards. Several individuals were recognized for special awards, and 36 teas were “highly commended” in citations that praised noteworthy characteristics.
Japanese teas dominated with five gold awards. India won two: Glenburn for its Darjeeling Moonshine and Rujani Tippy Reserve in Assam on the Aideobarie Tea Estate. Lumbini Tea Valley won gold for Sri Lanka, and Zen Zen took home gold for its Formosa Red Oolong tea. A Chinese Ya Shi Xiang submitted by Jantle Group also won gold.
Yame Tea Kumaen’s Gyokuro Saemidori from Fukuoka foo·koo·ow·kuh Japan was the highest-scoring tea of the competition, earning the Fortnum & Mason Best In Show award. The tea will be sold at the company’s showroom. Kazumi Nakatani traveled from Japan to brew and pour the winning tea. Zealong Tea Estate was awarded prizes for its Aged Oolong and Aromatic Oolong. Zealong also received the UK Tea Academy Lifetime Achievement Award for its pioneering tea culture 25 years ago in New Zealand. CEO Gigi Crawford served the tea.
New this year is a category for retailers selling fine tea. Chaki Co in Uji, Kyoto, Japan, won two retail gold awards. The tea venture was founded by tea farmers who are masters of “deconstructing and reassembling” tea. Dorothy’s Teas was named Best Seller of White Tea for its Shannong Estate Silver Needles.
Rooibos Red Chosen as one of the Top 10 Colors for 2024
By Dan Bolton
The arbiters of fashion selected rooibos red as one of the top ten colors in 2024 during New York Fashion Week, which attracted 230,000 designers, editors, stylists, celebrities, and influencers.
Pantone “is not just a name in color but a global gold standard, according to the company, which annually releases a New York edition of its Fashion Color Trend Report.” This year’s color palette “is steeped in a kind of retrospective warmth, but also indicates change, marking a transition towards a brighter, more optimistic approach to life.”
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, writes that the spring 2024 colors “inspire feelings of release. Opening the imagination and amplifying and liberating our unique artistic spirit enables us to express ourselves in more inventive ways.”
She described Rooibos Tea (No. 18-1355 TCX) as a “full-bodied red imbued with rich, woody notes.”
Selecting the color “draws attention to the rich biodiversity of the Western Cape’s Floristic Region, where the tea is grown, potentially increasing conservation efforts and attracting eco-conscious tourists,” she said.
Tea growers responded positively to the news. “The brand new belle of the ball is about to walk the runway in the most tasteful of colors – if we might say so ourselves!” writes rooibos brand Carmien Tea.
The South African Rooibos Council posted the following on LinkedIn: “Aside from seeing the color popping up in new fashion collections, experts predict it will be used across industrial designs, from cars, electronics, AI, and technology to interiors, films, and animation. Fashion icons like Gucci, Zegna, Josie Natori, Bally, and Emilio Pucci have already embraced this rich red, woody hue. Get your Rooibos on!”
“It has been an exciting journey to witness the rise of Rooibos and its adoption across industries,” says Marthane Swart, secretariat of the Rooibos Council.
BIZ INSIGHT – Rooibos symbolizes South Africa’s heritage and is an important export product. Global recognition not only boosts national pride but may increase the tea’s international appeal, potentially boosting sales – a portion of which is shared with indigenous peoples who first harvested and brewed the popular beverage.
India Tea Undergoing FSSAI Safety Analysis
India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has stepped up oversight of the tea auction centers, analyzing tea samples from various parts of the country to determine whether these are adhering to the safety standards.
The Tea Board of India is working to ensure quality standards are met. FSSAI met with tea industry stakeholders in Kolkata in early October to discuss ways to further improve.
Rejections of India’s export consignments are rare, according to FSSAI CEO G. Kamala Vardhana Rao. He told The Millennium Post that FSSAI is in talks with tea industry stakeholders for “harmonizing” standards at the Codex Alimentarius Commission level.
There are 180 Codex member countries. Every country has set its limits on food quality standards. Rao said tea must be free from “extraneous matter, added coloring, and harmful substances. Pesticides cannot exceed the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) in the guidelines.”
FSSAI regularly collects samples for testing, said Rao. Technicians analyze the collected samples for pesticide residues and adulterants utilizing the organization’s 220 mobile testing and 247 NABL-accredited laboratories. Results are not yet available.
Once the analysis is complete, “We will then present our findings to the industry,” he said.
– Dan Bolton
Tanzania Produces Good Teas Amiable for Blending Herbal Infusions
By Dan Bolton
Tea was first cultivated in what is now Tanzania by German colonists early in the 20th century. Farms were planted high in the Usambara Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro rising vertically from the plains. The region was known as Tanga and would later, under British rule, become Tanganyika. The UK greatly expanded tea production through the 1960s and remains a major trading partner with the Republic of Tanzania. Steve Anyango, Managing Director at Nemooneh Iranian Food and Beverage, is an expert in commodity trading and logistics with deep ties to tea. Steve has traded tea for years at the Mombasa Auction and sources tea globally for Middle Eastern markets. He joins us this week to discuss the favorable characteristics and future of Tanzanian tea.
Tea Biz traveled to Tanzania last week to explore the tropical Usambara tea-growing region. There, I toured the Sakare Cooperative tea factory and met with smallholder farmers, tea makers, traders, tea sellers, and members of the Tea Board of Tanzania. I recount my adventure beginning today with Tahira Nizari, a savvy business school graduate and humanitarian who co-founded the specialty tea brand Kazi Yetu in 2018 to advance the role of women in Tanzania’s tea industry. Read more…
Listen to the Interview
Middle East Unrest Heightens Tea Logistics Concerns
By Dan Bolton
Tea shipping and logistics executives closely monitor Middle East unrest as tea sales to the region declined.
Immediate concerns involve insurance premiums and pricing risk, but if Iran-backed Hezbollah escalates the Hamas conflict, Israel will likely retaliate against Iran. The Islamic Republic’s navy (IRGCN) has increasingly harassed international vessels, with 20 incidents in the past few years, including the seizing of tankers in the Strait of Hormuz (which spans Oman and Iran), a route traveled by 30% of the world’s oil and much of the world’s tea.
Due to the violent and volatile Hamas-Israeli conflict, sales of orthodox tea at India’s Kochi Auction declined to 70% of the 2 million kilos on offer. Though Israel buys negligible quantities, exports to other destinations through the Suez Canal will be hit, according to a report in the Hindu BusinessLine.
Traders who spoke to the newspaper cautioned, “Shipments to destinations through the Suez Canal are likely to be hit on account of the war.”
They anticipate a further decline in demand and disruptions in tea procurement if the situation worsens.
Iran is the center of attention.
Normally a discerning trading partner with a preference for orthodox black tea, imports to Iran spiked last year, yet “At the moment, there are signs that Iran does not have enough teas to last through the winter season,” writes one trader.
In an attempt to stockpile supplies, tea imports during the past fiscal year (ending March 30, 2023) rose to 90 million kilos. Payments, complicated by economic sanctions, are now past due. “So far, we have no clear import support from the government. As a result, a lot of teas consigned for Iran are stuck in Dubai and Kenya,” writes the Iran-based trader.
Compounding the self-inflicted shortage is that domestic production declined to 20 million kilos this year.
Iran produced about 26 million kilos last year, exporting 10,000 metric tons valued at $44.2 million, according to the Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), which valued imports at $665 million through March 30, 2023.
Imports recovered from the pandemic to reach 35 million kilos in 2022. In the fiscal year ending March 2021, the country imported 21 million kilos valued at $201 million. India accounted for $96 million of tea imports. Sri Lanka shipped $75.8 million worth of tea to Iran, and Kenya shipped $19.2 million to round out the top three tea suppliers.
Just Ice Tea Raises $14 Million to Expand Distribution
By Dan Bolton
Seth Goldman this week announced $14 million in growth capital to expand the national distribution of Just Ice Tea.
The organic, fair trade ready-to-drink tea launched in 2022 following a decision by Coca-Cola to stop producing Honest Tea. Just Ice Tea’s founders, Barry Nalebuff, Spike Mendelsohn, and Goldman, formulated and began distributing the tea within four months of the announcement. Parent company Eat the Change has since scaled back its plant-based snack business as tea sales soar.
The new round of funds will expand the distribution of the fast-growing Just Ice Tea line and refresh the company’s marketing of cosmic carrot chew snacks. In March, the company added three new flavors: Mango White tea, Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea, and Original Black Tea. Just Ice Tea now markets nine varieties of unsweetened and slightly sweetened (40 to 60-calorie) teas, including Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea at 40 calories per bottle. Sweeteners include organic agave and honey with no cane sugar.
Goldman and Nalebuff founded Honest Tea in 1998. Coca-Cola invested to expand distribution in 2008 and acquired the business in 2011. Goldman joined Coca-Cola to develop new beverage brands, growing Honest Tea to more than $600 million in annual sales. He left in 2019 to establish Eat the Change, which produces a line of mushroom jerky, dehydrated carrot chews, and other healthy snacks.
Wagh Bakri Executive Dies Fleeing Stray Dogs
Parag Desai, the fourth-generation executive director of Wagh Bakri Tea Group, died last week of head injuries sustained fleeing stray dogs on an evening walk near his home in Ahmedabad.
He was hospitalized and underwent surgery for a brain hemorrhage after the Oct. 15 incident and remained on a ventilator for seven days. He died Sunday, Oct. 22.
Gujarat-basedWagh Bakri, founded in 1892, is one of India’s best-known packaged tea brands, generating $25 million in sales of 50 million kilos of tea annually.
Parag, an expert tea taster and evaluator, was responsible for sales, marketing, and exports under his father, managing director Rasesh Desai. His cousin Paras Desai, also an executive director, is responsible for sourcing and operations. Parag greatly expanded distribution and established tea lounges and direct-to-consumer sales online. He was an industry leader, a member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), supported the blind, and was a wildlife advocate and a personal friend of mine in tea.
“I have been very lucky to have learned from my elders,” Parag, who earned a master’s degree at Long Island University, told Moneycontrol last December, crediting “a very formal, strict education overseas and in India. I have had the good opportunity to merge these learnings to lead the company into the next generation.”
His wife Vidisha and daughter survive him.
– Dan Bolton
Value Addition at Origin Enhances the Lives of Tea Workers
By Dan Bolton
Kazi Yetu sources much of its tea from the Sakare farmer’s cooperative in the Usambara Mountains, a range in northeastern Tanzania that is 90 kilometers long and about half that wide. Usambara is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with a virgin rainforest that rises to more than 7,500 feet (about 2,289 meters above the Indian Ocean). Teas are finished and transported to the port at Dar es Salaam, where 35 women are employed in blending, packaging, and distributing tins and canisters of specialty tea available globally. Read more…
Nathalie Roos, CEO of ekaterra tea, this week announced “with pride an enthusiasm our corporate name change to LIPTON Teas and Infusions.”
“This change comes together with our commitment to drive the whole tea industry upwards and grow value for all and our planet,” said Roos.
Lipton writes that the rebranding will strengthen the company’s position as the world’s number one tea business and affirm its approach as a consumer-centric organization. Ekaterra currently generates €2 billion in annual turnover from sales in 150 countries. The name change is more inclusive of non-traditional brands in the ekaterra portfolio, such as Pukka and TAZO. The company owns 34 brands including PG Tips, the T2 retail chain, and regional brands such as Brooke Bond Red Label and Bushell’s in Australia.
| The First of Seven Agriculture-Focused Satellites is Safely in Orbit
The SpaceX Transporter safely delivered the first Agri-Focused Earth Observation Satellite (EOS) into orbit Jan. 3. The constellation of seven satellites will each monitor one million square kilometers daily, covering 100% of the largest areas of farm and forestlands, about 98% of the globe’s land surface. The satellites, designed by Dragonfly Aerospace, scan 13 bands to generate panchromatic and multispectral imagery to monitor daily crop growth, water stress, weed spread, the presence of pests, and temperature variations at ground level. Tea growers can use the data to precisely control CO2 emissions, cut energy consumption, decrease water usage and reduce losses to pests.
| The Specialty Tea Institute Ceases Operations According to Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the U.S.A, the decision was driven by economics and a decline in interest. STI will not accept membership applications in 2023 and will not conduct classes anytime in the near future, he said. Goggi writes that STI could not offer many courses over the last three years due to COVID and had experienced a dramatic drop in both membership and interested students. STI is the association’s educational arm, offering basic through advanced training. The institute’s Certified Tea Specialist and Certified STI Instructor credentials and STI Tea Mentors program were well respected with participation by tea professionals around the world.
| PLUS Mou Dasgupta, founder of Brook37 The Atelier in Princeton, New Jersey, is pursuing her passion for tea after 25 years of trendsetting corporate leadership in the financial services industry. She developed a love for fine-quality tea while living in West Bengal, India, where she attended university in Calcutta. She says Brook37 “is proud to bring fresh thinking and an ethical and sustainable mindset to all we do,” she says. “Our unparalleled tea selection of flavors, aromas, and colors from around the world, along with exquisite packaging, help you choose a positive and aspirational lifestyle.”