Wagh Bakri joins the retail bandwagon

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India may be predominantly a tea-consuming nation, but the organised retail movement in non-alcoholic beverages has so far been ruled by coffee. A shift, however, may be underway.

The Cha Bar from Oxford Bookstores did its bit to glamourise the tea-and-books combination in an ambience similar to any hip coffee bar. In Delhi, Passion – My Cup of Tea, the innovative tea-based foodservice chain, has also contributed to a revival of interest in tea amongst youngsters.

Now, Wagh Bakri tea is also taking the plunge with a recently-introduced Tea Lounge in Mumbai. Plans are afoot to open similar tea lounges at airports as well.

As of date, Wagh Bakri is the third largest packaged tea company in the domestic market, with 23 million kgs of tea distribution and close to Rs 300 crore in volume turnover. Currently, the company is exporting its brands to USA, UK and some Gulf nations. With the launch of Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge, the company is entering into the retail franchise format.

Expansion plans include setting up of tea lounges in Pune and Ahmedabad as well. The lounges would offer a wide range to choose from – Assam tea, organic tea, green tea, Darjeeling tea, South Indian tea, flavoured tea, ginger tea, mint tea etc. Apart from teas, snacks ranging from the traditional fare to classic Iranian offerings too would be available. Via the tea lounge, the company intends to introduce the Indian audience to varying tea flavours from countries as far apart as China, Kenya, Sri Lanka etc.

— Zainab Morbiwala

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