• CVC May Sell Kericho Tea Estates | Dunkin’ Launches Hard Iced Tea and Coffee

    CVC Capital Partners may sell Kenyan tea estates purchased from Unilever in July 2022
    CVC Capital Partners may sell Kenyan tea estates purchased from Unilever in July 2022

    CVC Capital Partners Exploring Sale of Kericho Tea Gardens: Unilever Brands Not for Sale

    | Dunkin’ Will Soon Begin Selling Hard Tea at Select US Grocery and Packaged Liquor Locations in 12 States
    | A Study Using UK Biobank Data Shows Tea May Lower the Risk of Gout

    Tea News for the week ending Aug 11
    Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap

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    Phil Rushworth, one of the owners of Ottawa-based ZhenTea, loves adventure camping, canoeing, climbing, and hiking. This week, he describes teas and techniques to help tea lovers enjoy special moments in the great outdoors.

    Listen to the Interview
    Phil Rushworth, co-founder of ZhenTea, Ottawa, Canada

    Turmoil Makes Kericho Tea Estates a Highly Visible Liability for Investors

    By Dan Bolton

    The private equity group that paid 4.5 billion Euros for Unilever’s tea business in July 2022 is discussing the sale of the Kenyan gardens and factories supplying its popular tea brands, including Lipton Tea and Infusions, according to the Financial Times,

    The newspaper reports three sources with detailed knowledge of the CVC Capital Partners’ plans.”The Kericho plantation has a history of violence and sexual abuse allegations. Protests in recent months led to the death of one tea worker, torching several tea harvesting machines, theft of tea, and acts of vandalism.

    A Lipton spokesperson quoted in the news report said the company had received a number of unsolicited inbound expressions of interest in our estates and would “review this strategic question at the right point in time.”

    The spokesperson said that if CVC sold the plantation, it would retain the rest of the business, which processes and markets tea under several brands, including PG Tips, Brooke Bond, and Pukka Herbs.

    Read More
  • Q|A John Davison

    In November Luxemburg-based private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, with investments totaling more than $100 billion, out-bid several competitors to acquire Unilever’s tea portfolio, re-branded as ekaterra tea. Lipton Yellow Label, Brooke Bond, Lyons, PG Tips, and 30 more tea brands, many regional, have a combined turnover of $2.3 billion (€2 billion). The agreement is subject to regulatory review and will not close for several months, but there is no time to waste as CEO John Davison takes on the task of re-energizing the largest tea company in the world.

    • Caption: John Davison was the only passenger on the plane from Singapore to Judah, Saudi Arabia
    Hear the interview
    Ekaterra tea CEO John Davison

    “I’m much more of a grower than a cutter,” says ekaterra tea CEO John Davison

    Re-energizing the World’s Largest Tea Company

    By Dan Bolton

    The Singapore sun is high and the room alabaster bright when ekaterra tea CEO John Davison answers the Zoom call. It is the dark of night and snowing heavily outside my Winnipeg window in central Canada. Davison, 58, is energized. Singapore was quick to instituted mass lockdowns in early 2020, becoming one of Asia’s most stringent COVID-zero economies, largely sealing off its borders, and testing. After 18 months of isolation Davison has just returned from the COP26 Glasgow Climate Summit in Scotland and would soon depart for Judah, Saudi Arabia and to visit the company’s massive tea packaging operation in Jebal Ali, near Dubai, UAE.

    In March 2021 Davison was named to oversee a “carve-out” of the least desirable tea brands from the Unilever portfolio. Unilever CEO Alan Jope announced in January 2021 that the company would jettison underperforming legacy brands Lipton, PG Tips, Lyons, Brooke Bond, Red Rose ? all black tea stalwarts acquired in the 1980s and 1990s ? along with more recently acquired and fiscally promising T2 retail in Australia, TAZO, an American packaged good brand formerly owned by Starbucks, and Pukka, a fast-growing herbal tea brand founded in 2001 in a home kitchen in Bristol.

    Davison spent his first nine months at Unilever reorganizing billions in assets including 11 factories across four continents that employ 4,000 workers doing business in more than 100 countries. A big portion of Unilever’s suppliers and partners will transition to ekaterra at the close of the sale. Ekaterra will operate company owned tea estates in Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania and contract with thousands providing a livelihood for one million people.

    Davison, a Harvard Business School Graduate with a master’s from the University of Cambridge, spent five years at Diago as a strategy director during the merger with Guinness and worked for 11 years as a senior executive with Danone. His last job was managing the Asian division of Zuellig Pharma, a $13 billion global leader in pharmaceutical distribution. After leading a turnaround that he initiated in 2014, Davison spent the first year and a half of the pandemic focused exclusively on resolving formidable distribution challenges brought by COVID-19.

    Unilever, ranked 175 on the Fortune 500 with 400 brands and turnover of $58 billion, kept its most profitable and fast-growth tea gardens and factories in India, Nepal, and Indonesia and in North America remains in a joint venture with PepsiCo to manufacture and market Lipton tea in bottles and cans. The portfolio’s remnants are expected to generate more than $800 million annually, making it the world’s fourth largest tea company, according to Euromonitor.

    One man’s cast off is another man’s treasure. Davison is eager to make the most of CVC Capital’s $5.1 billion investment.

    Dan Bolton: John, when a private equity firm puts $5 billion to work they expect sizeable returns. In general, two patterns have emerged, one in which the management team cuts their way to profitability, trimming staff, investing in automation, and introducing efficiencies. The second is spurring growth.

    John Davison: Why would a company like CVC want, as you say, to invest $5 billion in taking ekaterra out of Unilever?

    It boils down to three key points: Number one, it’s a growth category. Tea is on trend, I think COVID, if anything has reinforced the dynamics that tea is a healthy beverage. It has a lot of medicinal qualities, as you well know, in terms of heart health, digestion, you name it. Investors like to be in categories that are on trend and have long term potential.

    Secondly, if you look at ekaterra, we are the largest, by some stretch, I think three times larger than the next player. So, we have a leadership position. That leadership stretches across 10s and 10s of markets ? 3,040 different markets. It’s not been something we’ve built on and really capitalized on.

    I think Capital Partners, CVC has seen that opportunity to capitalize and drive that leadership position to greater heights and with that bring the category into faster growth. That’s the second big reason, the strength of our competitive position, relative to the rest of the peer group in the industry.

    The third thing is the management team. I’m the rookie and just joined nine months ago, but the team we’ve put together in at ekaterra is highly experienced. Our R&D team is really strong. We have 3,540 tea tasters. When you put all that organization together, on top of a great brand portfolio in a growing category, it’s clear to see why CVC or anyone else would be interested in investing in the business.

    Now that said, we’ve now got to deliver on all the promise to your point. And that will be something top of mind as we start to engage with our future owners. And of course, these transactions take time to go through the process. There’s a few months now of anti-trust filings, regulatory processes and approvals to go. We won’t see the close of this deal probably till mid next year.

    Dan: At COP26 you sent a clear message that sustainable tea at large scale is doable. So, do you intend to be a tea company that is ethically mindful? Or an ethical firm that sells tea?

    John: That’s a trick question. I think you can be ethically mindful and kind of watch from the sidelines, right?

    We need to get in the game and drive the rules of the game. I don’t mean that in a threatening way, I think part of the reason we wanted to step out at COP26 was to make that point, which is that the status quo ? having a nice program to share with your customers and partners and consumers ? probably isn’t enough at this stage.

    If we don’t get beyond that, towards driving real change, and not just change inside of our business system, but industry wide, as well as with consumers, in 10 years time we’ll be really panicking about what we can do to reverse things that are probably irreversible by that stage.

    We need to get beyond watching and following. We need to get into the game and lead. We have the technologies discussed by the Ethical Tea Partnership, and a bunch of new technologies that are in development that were mentioned at COP26.

    We need to deploy that technology as soon as possible into pilots, which we’re doing. And as soon as we get them into pilot, we need to get them into action on our own tea estates and as soon as possible thereafter, broaden that to the entire supply base. And as soon as possible thereafter, the entire supply base of the industry. If there are technologies that can help other players, you know, I think we need to make them available. There’s no point in jealously guarding a technology that you deploy to 5% of the tea crop of the world, if 50% of the tea in the entire world is at risk.

    We need to develop proper resilience in climatic challenging circumstances, which you know, are becoming more and more difficult, as you said earlier, already affecting crop yields.

    If we can get these technologies properly piloted and properly rolled out, then we should be able to help our tea farmers manage much more productively much more resiliently in the face of real dramatic climate change. And that can only be a good thing, not only for ourselves, but for them and for the industry. And that’s something we’re going to work very hard to deliver.

    So, in that sense I think the answer to your question is that we need to be both an ethical company, as well as a tea company acting ethically.

    Unilever already set us on a wonderful course. It’s a great company. I think in many respects, we’re sorry to be leaving, and they are sorry to be losing us. But at the same time, it is for the best reasons to give us this chance to drive a leadership that I think would be difficult to do inside such a large multinational.

    Davison taking tea with the ekaterra staff

    Jebel Ali
    United Arab Emirates

    Dan: So, let’s talk about the core product. In this case, making tea that people are willing to pay a premium price to drink. I don’t think any brand wants to be known for making tea so heavily discounted that it is perceived as cheap or market blends that taste worse than in years past. Ekaterra tea inherits several brands on the rise, market leaders in 58 regions, but in the west sales are stagnant.

    Senior Beverage Consultant Matthew Barry at Euromonitor writes that “mass-market black tea bags are in consistent decline in nearly all developed markets. Unilever saw retail sales of black tea decline by $27 million from 2015 to 2020 in these countries, even with the benefit of a large 2020 pandemic-related retail spike.”

    Last year Unilever CEO Alan Jope set the dominoes in motion by declaring “insanity is carrying on doing the same thing and looking for different outcomes, and for 10 years we have been trying to ignite growth into our tea business unsuccessfully.” Black tea drinkers were blamed for getting older and starting to fall over, and that is the fundamental problem… said Jope, “younger consumers are looking for novel experiences, and the consumer of ‘builders’ tea’ was someone who was born out of habit and was not into experimentation and trying new products.”

    I know from personal experience tea quality is an issue. Do you agree? And what are you going to do to make better tea?

    John: The tea category within Unilever has been subject to a focus on bringing down costs to manage exactly what you described, declining pricing or stagnant pricing in the market. Any multinational would probably deal with that kind of spiral of decline on value by R&D engineering the product, so I think certain things we are absolutely going to put right very quickly. Other things may take longer to fix.

    We’re going to work very hard at making sure we get our blends back to the top of the tree, in terms of quality and in terms of value to consumers. We can’t live in an industry if we are the leader in that industry, with second rate teas or teas that are not absolutely the best they can possibly be.

    So, I think we’ve got a job still to do. We started that program in the last 12 to 18 months before I showed up and it’s something that we’re now accelerating. That will require clear investments in certain key areas, but also in the way we communicate benefits to consumers. I don’t think we’ve done a very good job on that, either. Historically, I think we’ve tended to pull back on consumer communications. And we’ve not played the powerful cards we have in our portfolio.

    “We’re going to work very hard at making sure we get our blends back to the top of the tree, in terms of quality and in terms of value to consumers. We can’t live in an industry if we are the leader with second rate teas or teas that are not absolutely the best they can possibly be.”

    – John Davison

    Dan: When asked by the online polling site YouGov, consumers say they are willing to pay more for products that are sustainable, and to reward manufacturers who close the loop; traders who reduce transit emissions and growers who conserve water and regenerate soil. So, on one hand we have a price premium of perhaps 20-30% at retail. The premium is similar to that paid for organic goods and by consumers who have demonstrated their willingness to pay more for fair trade goods.

    On the other hand, tea manufacturers face significant additional costs to cultivate and process premium tea. There is the expense of adapting to a changing climate, costs to comply with requirements set by third party certifiers, new equipment and more expensive plant-based tea bags and earth-friendly packaging, and set-asides to pay for carbon credits. Is the premium consumers are willing to pay sufficient to cover the cost of sustainable production? The desire is there, and there’s money on the table, can you operate ekaterra tea in a way that it’s both sustainable and profitable?

    John: That’s a great question. I think sustainability, and ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance] philosophies and beliefs are at different stages of development and relevance in different parts of the world. At COP26, you could absolutely feel that the world’s eyes were on everything that was happening. But it’s a difficult balance to strike.

    I would like to believe consumers would sit down and say, ‘yeah, we understand all the packaging, we understand all the accreditations, we get it, here’s an extra 20%, 30%, no problem.’ But I don’t believe that’s going to happen overnight. And I don’t believe that will happen across the world, I think it may happen in certain societies. But it’s not going to be a wholesale phenomenon at this stage, maybe hopefully, in years to come.

    Which means we develop sound business cases to surround the decisions we take to drive a more sustainable approach to business process.

    This is why technology R&D is so important, because to remove plastic from your packaging, you must put in an investment to machines and the X number of factors needed to make that happen.

    If you had the technology to design a fully recyclable or biodegradable pack instead, one that can be made at a lower unit cost, then that’s a win-win.

    But there will be moments where we have to make tough decisions and say, ‘there’s an extra capex’ [capital expenditure] to fit this factory to be able to do X, Y, and Zed in a completely different way.

    I think we’ve got to be courageous enough to make those decisions and figure out how to make the pay back with or without the 20% to 30% extra help from the consumer.

    Right now, and you hear this from anyone you interview in consumer products, or any product category,  there’s an enormous escalation in input costs, not only from commodity crops, but also from logistics supply chain, from packaging, all over the world, big tidal wave effects coming out of COVID and the disruption caused to the planet. We’re digesting those changes, as well as thinking ahead how we motor on, on climate change.

    It’s a VUCA world [Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity] a lot of volatility, a lot of uncertainty. Because we’ve generally operated in so many different economies with those kinds of unusually volatile trends, historically, I think we’ve got a team that’s pretty creative, pretty versatile, and is well equipped to deal with challenges that often contradict each other.

    That’s why we are employed to do what we do, if it was that straightforward, it wouldn’t be challenging. It wouldn’t be fun. It wouldn’t be the adventure it is to be in this business.

    Davison signing a distribution agreement with Sheikh Abdullah Binzagr in Judah, Saudi Arabia. Binzagr Group has distributed Unilever products since the 1920s.

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  • Tea Biz Podcast | Episode 38

    Tea Biz Podcast Logo

    Listen on your favorite player

    Hear the Headlines

    | India Adopts Tea Industry Reforms
    | US Considers Granting Exemptions from Chinese Tariffs
    | A Tribute to Nepal Tea Maker Morris Orchard

    Seven-minute Tea News Recap

    Tea Price Report
    Oct 2 – Sale 39

    India Tea Price Watch

    India Tea Price Watch | Aravinda Anantharaman
    The Tea Board of India announced a mechanization subsidy for smallholders to address the problem of labor shortages in tea gardens. India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry extended its tea development and promotion program through 2025-26 discontinuing subsidies for Orthodox production that includes $40 million for clearing subsidies in the tea sector. Learn more…

    Aravinda Anantharaman


    This week Tea Biz travels to Alberta, Canada, high in the Canadian Rockies to visit one of several Swiss-inspired tea houses designed to provide high-mountain trekkers shelter and warmth.

    … and then we visit Tokyo, Japan to meet tech and tea entrepreneur Hiroshi Takatoh whose Teatis blends of brown seaweed and matcha and seaweed and botanicals are formulated to help diabetics control high blood sugar levels.

    Jolene Brewster, left, with partner Jess McNally in front of Jolene’s Tea House located in the historic Crag Cabin, Banff.

    Jolene’s Tea House

    By Jessica Natale Woollard

    The rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains thrust nearly 20,000 feet into the sky, a haven for hikers that inspired a unique style of high-mountain tea houses built to provide warmth and shelter along the trail. In Banff, Alberta, Tea Biz correspondent Jessica Natale Woollard visits Jolene’s Tea House – a refuge for mind and body. Read more…

    Listen to the Interview
    Jolene Brewster on the launch of Jolene’s Tea House

    Hiroshi Takatoh, CEO Teatis Tea
    Hiroshi Takatoh, CEO and Founder Teatis Tea

    A Medicinal Tea from the Sea

    By Dan Bolton

    Tea has an ancient history of medicinal applications, many of which have been validated by scientific research. The same is true of seaweed which contains antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E) as well as trace minerals and protective pigments. Joining us from Tokyo for this week’s podcast is Hiroshi Takatoh, CEO, founder, and blender at Japan-based Teatis Tea. Takatoh is exploring, with his team of food scientists and doctors, tea formulations to assist diabetics and pre-diabetics control their blood sugar levels. Read more…

    Listen to the Interview
    Teatis Tea founder Hiroshi Takatoh discusses the medicinal benefits of blending brown seaweed and tea.


    India will no longer require permits to grow tea, one of several reforms gradually deregulating the tea industry.

    India Adopts Tea Industry Reforms

    By Dan Bolton

    Facing continuing declines in export revenue, India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has funded several programs and instituted fundamental reforms in tea.

    In September the Tea Board of India said it will suspend seven sections of the Tea Act of 1953 following the commerce ministry’s decision to amend regulations governing the sector. Seventeen of the Act’s 51 provisions are no longer enforced as India gradually deregulates the tea sector.

    Permits to grow tea will no longer be required, a decision that is likely to increase unregulated production by smallholders who now account for 52% of India’s tea by volume. Tea production has rebounded in 2021, up 18% compared to the first eight months of 2020 to total 792 million kilos. Read more…

    A Tribute to Teamaker Morris Orchard

    The death of Nepal teamaker Morris Orchard due to COVID-19 is a sad reminder of the pandemic’s toll on the global tea community. Orchard, general manager at Jun Chiyabari Tea Estate and a third-generation tea man, was 58. Kevin Gascoyne, a partner at Montreal’s Camellia Sinensis tea company and a long-time buyer of Nepal tea shares how Orchard advanced tea making in his lifetime. View on YouTube.

    Jun Chiyabari Teamaker Morris Orchard (1963-2021)
    Listen to the Interview
    Montreal-based Camellia Sinensis tea buyer Kevin Gascoyne pays tribute to teamaker Morris Orchard

    US Considers Exemptions from Chinese Tariffs

    Trade talks between the US and China will resume but there is little hope the Biden Administration will do away with tariffs that have depressed tea imports from China for the past three years. However, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the US will resume a program that allows companies importing some product categories to apply for exemptions, relieving them from paying the tariff.

    Applications for exclusions were suspended in 2018. USTR writes that of the initial 2,200 exclusions granted, 549 were extended through Dec. 31, 2020. Criteria to qualify is based on economic hardship and whether the product is available only from China, which is true of several categories of tea.

    The US currently charges duties on $350 billion of Chinese goods, penalizing importers who often pass the added expense to consumers. Tariffs add 7.5% to the price of Chinese tea. Tai said the US “does not want to inflame trade tensions with China” but made it clear additional duties and restrictions could be imposed.

    Biz Insight – Tariffs on tea are insignificant compared to those levied on steel, agricultural food products and create no hardship for the Chinese who annually export $2 billion worth of tea. The 50-day public comment period on why the USTR should reinstate exemptions opens on Oct. 12. The list of previous exemptions is posted on the USTR website. None of the 549 exemptions were granted to tea companies but companies importing ink cartridges, submersible pumps, lampshades, bottle caps, and electric motors all made the list.

    — Dan Bolton

    • Read more… links indicate the article continues. Learn more… links to additional information from reliable outside sources.

    Upcoming Events

    October 2021
    Duyun Maojian International Forum for Tea Lovers | Dunyun, Guizhou, China |
    6th Annual Conference for China Tea Import and Export Trade | Oct. 21-22
    The co-located events showcase the production of Maojian green tea. China quarantine and travel restrictions apply. Website | Brochure (PDF)

    December 2021

    World Tea & Coffee Expo | Gandhinagar, India | December 2-4
    Launched in 2013 and now operated by Messe Muenchen India, this hybrid virtual and in-person event for tea and coffee professionals is now scheduled for the Helipad Exhibition Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. Website | Register

    Click to view more upcoming events.

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  • Tea Biz Podcast | Episode 37

    Tea Biz Podcast Logo

    Listen on your favorite player

    Hear the Headlines

    | Kenya Exports Saturate Black Tea Market
    | COVID Depresses Japanese Tea Business in Unique Ways
    | Unilever is Recognized as the Top Food and Agriculture Benchmark

    Seven-minute Tea News Recap

    Tea Price Report
    Sept 25 – Sale 38

    India Tea Price Watch

    India Tea Price Watch | Aravinda Anantharaman
    The Tea Board of India announced a mechanization subsidy for smallholders to address the problem of labor shortages in tea gardens. India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry extended its tea development and promotion program through 2025-26 discontinuing subsidies for Orthodox production that includes $40 million for clearing subsidies in the tea sector. Learn more…

    Aravinda Anantharaman


    This week Tea Biz travels to Monte Metilile in Mozambique, a country along the southern coast of East Africa where Mohit Agarwal, Director of the Asian Tea Group, has revived an abandoned 15,000-acre tea estate to demonstrate the viability of organic farming at scale.

    … and then we talk with supply chain and procurement expert John Snell about what makes Mozambique such an exceptional tea-producing region.

    Monte Metilile, TE Mozambique
    Monte Metilile Tea Estate in Mozambique is the world’s largest certified organic tea plantation.

    Organic Tea Farming at Scale

    By Dan Bolton

    Mozambique is the best-kept secret in the tea world, says Mohit Agarwal, Director of the Asian Tea Group, the company that owns Cha de Magoma and the Monte Metilile brand. Mohit is walking the garden as we speak via Zoom, describing the organic dairy herd, a forest of renewable eucalyptus used for fuel, the hydroelectric turbines that power the plantation’s three factories. Pointing to the brilliant green tea bushes that stretch as far as the eye can see he explains that during 15 years of civil war from 1977 until 1992 Mozambique’s tea plantations were abandoned. Read more…

    Listen to the Interview
    Mohit Agarwal, Managing Director at the Asia Tea Group, discusses the advantages of scale.

    John Snell
    Procurement expert John Snell, founder of NM Tea B Consulting and owner of Ela’s Tea.

    John Snell: Mozambique is God’s Country for Tea

    By Dan Bolton

    A century ago, when the Portuguese first planted tea in Gurúè, Mozambique they found gentle, well-drained slopes of rich red volcanic soils at 1,500 to 3,600 feet elevation – the same altitude as India’s Darjeeling mid-tier gardens. The climate there is cool and dry from May to September and hot and humid between October and April. Annual rainfall averages more than 3,000 millimeters. By 1950 production exceeded 20,000 metric tons a year and there was more land under tea in Mozambique than any country in Africa. Listen as procurement and supply chain expert John Snell explains why Mozambique is such a great place to source tea. Read more…

    Listen to the Interview
    John Snell on why Mozambique is a great place to source tea.


    Kenya increased pay for green leaf and provided smallholders 65,000 metric tons of fertilizer to increase production.

    Kenya Exports Saturate Black Tea Market

    By Dan Bolton

    Kenya reported a 19% increase in exports totaling almost 300 million kilos through June despite falling production totals. In September Kenya increased fertilizer subsidies following an August increase in payments for green leaf sold to Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factories. The combination will spur tea production and likely increase Kenya’s share of the global black tea market. Low prices led India to import 5 million kilos of Kenyan tea in the first half of 2021, compared to 1.5 million kilos during the previous year. Worldwide, tea supply continues to outstrip demand, continuing a downward trend dating to 2018. Read more…

    Japanese funeral
    Japanese funerals involved tea and generous tea gifting. Funeral directors note a steep decline since COVID-19.

    COVID Depresses Japanese Tea Market in Unique Ways

    By Dan Bolton

    Like the rest of the world, Japanese tea growers suffered as restaurants closed, social gatherings were canceled, and safety precautions limited harvest days and processing.

    The pandemic also inflicted setbacks unique to the market including a sharp decline in the gifting of tea at funerals.

    Japan’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, reports that production of unrefined “aracha” declined by 15% in 2021 compared to the previous year. Year-on-year sales of first flush teas fell by 20% in Shizuoka prefecture and by 17% in Kagoshima, according to ministry figures.

    The Japanese Association of Tea Production reports that total production of sencha declined by 15% in 2020, compared to 2019.

    Japanese office workers are teleworking and drinking tea at home but tourism dollars are down 79% compared to 2019, despite the Olympiad and Japan’s popular rural ryokan inns are shuttered, according to the Japan Times.

    An article published in Japan News identifies money spent on gifting tea at funeral services is down 90% from a peak of 13.6 million yen in 2015.

    The publication quoted a tea association spokesperson, PAUSE “Even if the pandemic is brought under control, I doubt funeral services will ever go back to the way they were before.”

    Biz Insight – To boost sales city and regional governments in tea growing regions are providing subsidies. Shizuoka’s prefectural government is offering producers ¥5 million yen (about $30,000) to develop new tea products and ¥3 million yen (about $45,000) to develop new sales channels.

    Unilever Named Top Food and Agriculture Company by World Benchmarking Alliance

    The World Benchmarking Alliance has named Unilever its top Food and Agricultural Benchmark. The alliance, established in 2018, encourages seven transformations considered essential to put society and the worldwide economy on a more sustainable path.

    Annually the group evaluates 2000 of the world’s most influential businesses against its benchmarks.

    In a first, the alliance assessed transformation in the Food and Agriculture system globally, ranking 350 companies from farm to fork. Criteria include transforming nutrition, addressing environmental issues, and social inclusion. According to the Alliance, the findings reveal worrying gaps in the industry’s adaptation to climate change, progress on human rights, and contribute to healthy diets.

    “Only 26 of the 350 companies are working to reduce emissions from their direct activities through science-based targets set by the Paris Agreement,” writes the Alliance.

    Unilever Benchmarks

    Unilever, one of the world’s largest food companies, received a combined score of 71.7 out of 100, ranking ahead of Nestlé (which scored 68.5) and Danone (which scored 63.6). Retailer Tesco and beverage companies PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch InBev were among the top 10. No foodservice company made it into the top 10. One hundred and nineteen companies scored between 10 and 25 points and 110 companies scored below 10 points out of 100.

  • Benchmarks for the world’s 350 most influential food and agriculture companies
Download Unilever’s World Benchmarking Scores (PDF)

Biz Insight – The Alliance writes that “while companies at the top of the ranking demonstrate that they are meeting societal expectations on a variety of topics, the overall average benchmark performance is low. Almost two-thirds of the companies in scope fail to obtain a quarter of total scores, demonstrating significant room for improvement across all measurement areas.”

— Dan Bolton

Upcoming Events

October 2021

World Tea & Coffee Expo | India
Postponed to December 2-4 | Launched in 2013 and now operated by Messe Muenchen India, this hybrid virtual and in-person event for tea and coffee professionals is now scheduled for the Helipad Exhibition Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. Website | Register

Click to view more upcoming events.

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