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Brewing Flavours

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, that offers the Jay Tea brand, was founded in 1942 by Jayantilal Shah and the company was incorporated in 1950. With an experience of over seven decades in sourcing, blending and packaging teas, today, under the supervision of current director (third generation), Jay Tea has become one of the largest tea bag manufacturing companies in India, and is amongst the top five exporters

Over the last three years, our business as a supplier of tea bags has grown at a staggering rate of 25 percent. This growth is largely driven by a switch amongst HoReCa customers towards the tea bag format, and an increased interest in value added teas such as green tea, naturally flavoured tea, herbal infusion and wellness brews,” informs Shah. He adds, “Of late, we have seen a lot of interest in our teas from spas and wellness clinics, which are promoting consumption of healthy beverages (especially teas) to their consumers.”

In 1985, Jay Tea began exporting its tea bags to USA, Australia, Europe, Sudan and Russia. Today, it has the capability to cater to tea demand coming from over 42 countries, and is selling over 11,000 tons of tea per year (or 10 million cups a day). Some of the popular brands of the company available in the international market are Tea India, Gold Bond, and Victoria. It is also engaged in an extensive private label operation for major retailers and food-service operators across several countries such as United States of America, Australia, Europe, far eastern Russia and West Africa. “Some of our customers include names such as, Costa Coffee, , Lavazza (Fresh & Honest), Mocha Cafe, Tea Centre (Mumbai), and IBIS Hotel,” shares Shah.

In June 2014, Madhu Jayanti launched TE-A-ME, a premium range of tea bags in 17 flavours (black, green, spiced teas, fruit, flower infusions and wellness brews). Apart from the premium tea bags, the company offers regular tea in the form of tea bags, caddies, pouches and packets under the brand Jay and regional brands such as Lalpan (Karnataka) and Sarawasti (Maharashtra). The company claims to use 100 percentage natural ingredients and flavours. Its plants are in Kolkata and Coimbatore, and it has a unit in Vladivostok in Russia. “We are the only tea house to be certified by ISO 9001, , BRC (Grade A), KOSHER (U&C), and IFS (Higher Level),” claims Shah.

The company has a distribution network of super-stockists and distributors, and the teas can be purchased online as well. Shah informs that, this year, they will expand their distribution network and penetrate tier II cities such as Pune, Kanpur, Coimbatore, Indore, Jaipur, Vadodara, Surat, Nagpur, Lucknow, Patna, Nasik, and Gandhinagar. “We are planning to establish a separate distribution channel to cater to spas, health and beauty salons, where our products have shown significant potential.”

This year, with the launch of a new range of tea bags, the company expects a growth of 35 percent. “A large part of this growth is expected to come from exotic varieties of herbal teas such as Cranberry Apple and Apple Cinnamon flavours,” avers Shah. Given consumers’ desire for healthier out-of-home beverages and a growing trend towards ‘flavour experimentation,’ the brand believes that there is tremendous potential for the naturally flavoured and caffeine-free herbal infusion. He says, “We’ve seen significant demand for our Apple Cinnamon and Cranberry Apple infusions and Kashmiri kahwa, which are few flavours that are not available in the mass market. These infusions can be consumed hot and as iced tea as well.”