Tea Biz
Tea Biz

Episode · 1 year ago

Tea News and Biz Insight - January 29, 2021

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

NEWS - Here are the headlines: Montreal-based DAVIDsTEA is undergoing a remarkable transformation…. Tea companies report strong sales and many new functional, and condition-specific teas… the British increased their tea intake 27 percent – dunking 61 billion tea bags last year … and Tea sales slow in Canada following a spring sprint.

FEATURES - This week we travel to Malawi, Africa where industry veteran Ranjit Dasgupta profiles a growing region gaining a reputation for producing innovative and sustainable specialty tea….

And to the Nilgiri Mountains in South India where hundreds of small growers in 100-member “farm producer groups” are collectively learning how to transition from fertilizer- and pesticide-dependent land practices to the organic cultivation of tea.

The Tea Bis podcast delivers tea news that you need to know, a recap of the week's major headlines, with commentary and cultural trends. Hosted by Dan Bolton. It is the voice of origin for tea professionals and enthusiasts worldwide. Think of us as a digital caravan of storytellers, bringing authentic, authoritative, exotic and exclusive stories to you weekly from the tea lands. Tea is both art and craft. It nourishes and inspires. It is the most ancient of plant based medicine, simultaneously energizing the body as it soothes the mind. Intimately local in character, the tea trade exerts global influence, employing millions to supply customers of far greater volumes than coffee. It is a fascinating, intricate topic, far more complex than one person can master. That is why the tea Biz podcast and lists forty voices skilled in twelve languages to tell the story of tea. Authentic reporting relies on the expertise of tea professionals who know the tea lands from birth and speak the native tongue. Transparency is storytelling grounded at origin. Each week, the tea bis podcast summarize as news with the greatest impact on the tea industry. But t requires far more nuanced coverage than the recitation of production volumes and commodity prices. That is why the tea bis podcast is paired with the more inclusive TEAB is blog and tea journey magazine. The podcast offers a weekly mix of news and features. It is innovative and interactive, permitting listeners to conveniently contact reporters at origin to ask questions that are answered via text messages that are delivered privately to their phone. Welcome to this week's edition of Tea News. You need to know. Here the headlines. Montreal base David's tea is undergoing a remarkable transformation. Tea Companies report strong sales and many new functional and condition specific teas for the market. The British increase their tea and take twenty seven percent last year, dunking sixty one billion tea bags, and te sales slow in Canada following a spring sprint. More in a minute, but first this important message. What makes a Perfect Cup of Saleon tea? The Perfect Cup is from the tea businesses that ensure the protection of all the children living within their tea estates. We Salute Kailani valley, tellawat Lee, bog one, Allawah Harana and Elyptia te estates. Support Save the Children Sri Lanka. Sarah Siegel began the new year as CEO of David's tea, a Montreal based brick and mortar retailer undergoing a remarkable transformation. The firm, which operated more than two hundred retail locations in the US and Canada until last March, was forced to declare bankruptcy, closing a hundred and sixty six locations, leaving only eighteen mall and suburban storefronts. The situation looked dire, but within three months the business had returned to profitability and in its most recent financial disclosure single pointed to a hundred and forty five percent increase to twenty two million dollars in sales of p online and in grocery, up from nine million during...

...the same period the previous year. Siegel said it is her goal to quote, solidify our position as a digital first, industry leading provider of on trend, high quality loose leaf te te accessories and gifts and quote Biz inside for natural analysts praise the company's asset light business model, estimating that the combination of labor savings, minimal rent and reduced overhead multiplied cash flow by fifteen times. Seagull promised investors that David's tea is on a new path, squarely focused on becoming a more agile organization. Innovation is in the wind. COVID has made consumers recognized that wellbeing is a vital concern. Tea Companies report strong sales and many line extensions for functional and condition specific teas. Brands include pot of teas, immunity boosting, green tea with vitamin C, CAUSO's calm and new eravitics from India's tea monk, along with a vegan double spy chive from Stash tea. Researchers in Singapore recently announced a probiotics that can be added to any tea, which is then left to ferment for two days, retaining the original flavor, enhanced with fruity and floral notes and a faint acidity. Market research firm Mentell, which maintains a global database of new products, noted a growing number of feed the mind formulations. The events of of two thousand and twenty cost a fundamental reset in human behavior. According to Mentell, in the coming years, consumers will be looking for more products and services that offer mental and emotional health benefits. Biz insight. Manufacturers are also experimenting with new ways to deliver the goodness of tea. The FUSIO, a New York based company, uses flexographic printing technology to make wayfer thin, dissolvable discs that deliver vitamins, minerals and complex nutrients, including prebionics. The company's sleep discs contain althionine derived from tea, camomeal and Melatonin. Britain's increase their tea intake by twenty seven percent in two thousand and twenty, consuming sixty one billion tea bags, enough to cover the equivalent of thirty one tho soccer fields. A survey of two Tho tea drinkers financed by ginge tea found that during the pandemic, UK residents used an average of forty tea bags a day, or one thousand hundred and sixty tea bags per person. Last year, one third said they drink tea for comfort and one in twenty said that tea calm them during a crisis. Another third said they plan on sticking with the same tea prepared in the same way for life, but fifty eight percent say they are willing to experiment. is inside the British isles are a bell weather for Western consumption patterns dating back three hundred and sixty one years. Revenue from tea rose slightly in two thousand and...

...twenty but consumption continued it's eleven year decline and volume. Globally, tea consumption grew by one point five percent, a retreat from the previous year's four percent pace due to temporary and permanent closures of cafes and restaurants. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts tea consumption to grow by two point eight percent in two thousand and twenty. One tea sales in the first weeks of the Pandemic Sword Canadians, like those in many nations, rush to fill their pantries. During the early spring and summer. Sales and grocery grew by double digits, leading all FMCC. That's fast moving a somber goods categories and offsetting losses and food service. The situation changed as lockdow's returned. Less fall a tea in the time of covid. I'm Jessica and a Tale Willard, and I'm here with Shabnam Webber, president of the tea and Herbal Association of Canada, who will share with US insights into the tea industry in two thousand and twenty and some predictions for the coming year. Shabnam, how did Canada's specialty t industry fair in two thousand and twenty? Well, thank you for having me. I think we can safely say that two thousand and twenty was a tumultuous year all around. All in all, tea fared rather well in retail and grocery and we've certainly seen an uptick in numbers. But where we have not fared well, and that has been food service, and we're actually now seeing the numbers indicate that the loss that suffered and food service did not, unfortunately, make up for the gains that we got in grocery. So we will probably see a slight net overall loss. And how about for the coming year for two thousand and twenty one, are you you seeing any positive signs of growth? I think that, unfortunately, the reality is that growth and anything that happens in this year is completely tied to what happens with the current pandemic that we're all affected by. My guess is that will probably see stronger numbers halfway through the year as more and more people get vaccinated. Restaurants. Food Service in most of Canada is still shut down for the most part and can only do take count. Unfortunately, tea has suffered because of that. Most people aren't ordering in their dinner and ordering a cup of tea along with that, not yet anyways. So I think that we'll see some strong numbers. My prediction is that once restrictions are lifted, we're all going to be itching to get out of the house and into restaurants and etc. And I think that we're going to see some pretty strong growth towards the middle and end of next year and certainly into two thousand and twenty two. And now a word from our sponsor. Q trade. Tea's works with tea purveyors at every scale, from promising startups to the world's largest multinational beverage brands in the hot, iced and bottle tea segments. With US based formulation, blending and packaging services, q trade can help you innovate, scale up and grow your specialty. Tea Brand. For more information, visit our website, que trade tea'scom. This week we travel to Malawi, Africa, where industry veteran Ranjid SKUPTA profiles of growing region gaining a reputation for producing innovative and sustainable specialty tea, and then to the Nilgreen Mountains and south India. We're hundreds of small growers and hundred member farm producer groups are collectively learning how to transition from Purple Wiser and pesticide dependent land practices...

...to the organic cultivation of tea. Allawi is a hilly land block nation in East Africa that has exported community Tis to the UK since one thousand nine hundred and twenty three. Recently, Americans have developed the thirst for Malawi te spending seventeen million to import twenty percent of the team produced there in two thousand and nineteen. The US is now Malawi's number three trading partner. The ruling heads of the Republic Malawi in Southeast Africa Bolls a great potential for producing distinctivety. I am in conversation with Jordan price, the honory console Malawi in the United States. Good Morning Jordan, good morning runs it. How are you very good. Thank you. You are Malawi's first Hondrey console in the United States. Why were you selected at what did your mandate runs? It's it's a great honor to serve as Malawi's first honorary console in the United States. Most of my role consists of promoting tourism and trade, and I also find myself answering many questions from the Malawi Diaspor Sourists and nonprofit volunteers and employees who are considering starting a contracts in Malawi. At the start of the pandemic, I really look closely at various Malawian products that were being sold in the United States and I discovered that I could help out Tea Malawi, and tea was already being sold in stores, so I figured that I could continue with my mandate by promoting this incredible product. Allow the of course, is known as the warm hot of Africa. Righting so globally, few D drinkers I've heard of Malawik what makes these from this country exception? I believe it comes from an intentional approach. It comes from the awareness of the uniqueness of Malawi, combined with over a century of hands on farming experience and side scientific nohow the the great irony in your question is that our teas are exceptional popular have been consumed globally for over a hundred years. Are Teas are everywhere. Malwi t's are liberal everywhere. Practically any tea that you drink, that's a black tea or green tea, in your typical supermarket back has some allow we te in there. You'll also find Malawi te fully branded as single estate, single origin tea in Michelin starred restaurants, some of the most exclusive hotels on earth. So there's really a discon right there that are chees are are everywhere, yet no one has heard of them. But you asked about why they're exceptional. It really starts with the land, with a soil in the Malawi is situated. The entire country is situated in the Great Rift Valley, which means there's an enormous lake, huge mountains, very dramatic topography. The soil in our tea growing districts really consists of about thirty percent silt and twelve to fifteen percent clay, and this dramatic topography has two rainy seasons. In the tea districts there's a first rainy season, which is the intertropical convergent zone, this band of high humidity and rain that flits north and south of the equator that sees that set of rains hits US between January and April and May. And the second set of rain really presents in a foggy drizzle known as the chipperone's that really targets southern Molloy and that's named after Mount Chipperone, this mountain in Mozambique.

But the weather actually comes from warm surface waters on the edge of the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mozamb so that's that's really it's really unique topography. And then we have over a century of hands on farming. In addition to the main farm, the the primary like large farming estates, we have independent tea farmers throughout the entire country, known as smallholders, and they play a critical role. Some smallholders sell the tea directly to the estate. Others have banded together to form cooperatives. The largest of these in the country is the sugambis trust. They have nearly twelvezero members producing fifteen million kg of leaf annually. Twenty years ago they only had a thousand members. And this growth has really been driven by their strong relationship with Lu Jeri testate, with Harris Freeman and then the Harris Freeman Foundation, also with Sainsbury, the grocery store chain in the UK. Another big smallholder trust is the MSUWAZI smallholder association. They have got five hundred members and their big partner is Satamua so Tam Wok tea and coffee estate, and so Sam will help them obtain fair trade rainforest alliance certification and they also partner with the government to supply even more plants, more tea cutting ssions to the farmers. And then the third aspect of why RT is exceptional is the scientific know how. Malawi has a very strong tea history. Was the first commercial tea in Africa to be planted was in Malawi in the late eighteen hundreds, and we have two old organizations that continue to be innovative in the country, and those are the tea research foundation of Central Africa and the Tea Association of Mala Up and both organizations exist to support farmers, to support the industry also to breed specific tea cult of ours that will thrive in this unique environment. And over the last eighty years. They developed nearly fifty cult ours and some are unique and endemic to Mallali. They've developed these cult of oars to increase production, to be resistance against kind of change. It takes about fifteen years to create a clone and they really doing this with with sustainability in mind, with a long term success in industry in mind. And this troubling bags that they're all going through. What is your assess friend, of the impact of grownavirus pendemic on them? Allowing the industry, like everyone on earth, we've had to really rethink the way forward as a result of the pandemic and I think there are many hard decisions that still need to be made. But to start with the the initial impact of the pandemic. The initial impact of the pandemic wasn't as bad as it could have been. Due to timing. Mallowy register their first case of COVID and this progression of the disease just as we were headed into the offseason for tea production. So the states were already reducing the workforce. There were few people in the field and inside factories, so it made it easier to maintain social distancing. So that's how it started. So it started not not terribly, as last year, progressed and hotels and restaurants reduced their operation. Tea Stock started building up and some buyers canceled orders. The main effect so far as on cash flow. Course, samples are also taking much longer to get to buyers malloways. Teas end up all over the world and with so many buyers people in the tea...

...industry working remotely, the samples aren't always reaching them at home. The samples would reach their commercial office or get delayed in the mail, but they're not making it to the Home Office for for these tea professionals. So that was last year. Now we're in year two. Cases are starting to build up again in Malawi. The daily number of cases is picking up and this could be a challenge as we're in the peak production window. The tea industry was classified as an essential service. It is one of the top five revenue earners for the country, so it's allowed to continue operations. Yeah, that's called. Hopefully the authorities will be able to handle the pandemic and give people say. We go on to my final question. Allow, he's best known for they're using these for lending of the CITC style of processing. I would they had. That has been for a into producing orthodox sleeve teas. In fact, from Allawi in d recently won server and a prestigious French de competition. What opportunities do you visualize for the future of Malawi t well, ranch it. We have exciting years ahead from Malawi Ti, and much of this is due to the foresight of our tea planters and really everyone involved in the industry. They've made valiant efforts to prepare for climate change by nurturing cultivars that will succeed in the coming years and, as you say, several full lefties from allow we want prestigious prizes. So far, the AFPA in France, the agency for the validation of agricultural products. At that competition, Malawi's tease Ad Setem want tea and coffee estate one both a gold and a bronze medal, and that was just really recently, a few months ago. And our ties have also fared very well in the UK, Canada, the US, the Netherlands or our teas are winning competitions everywhere and that's something that's very exciting. And it's also a fact that more and more consumers want to know where their products are coming from, and this trend is also true in the tea industry. They want their teas to be traceable up to the level of the of the Malawian who's plucking their tea. They want to also experience the passion and the craftsmanship behind their products. This is really a great opportunity for Malawi Ti to appear more and more a single origin on the grocery store shelves, and I don't see this as being limited to to the specialty or Orthodox tea market. I think single origin CTC blacks and Greens also can can be framed this way as well. Malawi was recently named the aspiration nation, the country of the year, by the Economist magazine, and United Nations is also putting in resources to support the expansion of our tea industry. You can visit clairege's hotel in London and your Malawi and tea will be served in Lamos and earl tea from Stemwa was recently described with the Financial Times as the number one earl gray in the world. And I'm listing all these things because it's it's an exciting time for Malawi. T organic tea cultivation is gaining momentum in the nil gray mountains as domestic demand rises within India or Venda, and on thorough man reports. What's a am under them? India, the Nail Greas is one of...

...the major tea growing regions in India, the highest producer in the south, with tea grown at altitudes of three thousand to eight thousand feet. It's a beautiful mountain range forming part of the nearly res Biosphere Reserve and this time of the years especially magical, with the early morning frost covered landscape and the lingering scent of Eucliptus in the air. While these mountains are home to tea stays are nearly two hundred years old, today's story spotlights the small tea farmers and the growing shift towards organic farming. The district horticulture department has been engaging with farmers to turn organic towards this state organic certification department has been offering the scope certification. Already about four thousand eight hundred farmers belonging to farmer producer groups have earned the scope certificate. The focus is now on tea farmers here, because this is tea country and to rope in multia farmers to adopt organic. A scope certification drive was launched at the Kinda Karai Ti factory on January twenty one, tw thousand and twenty one. Now kinnakarai is one of sixteen factories of INCO serve India's largest tea cooperative federation, with Thirtyzero small farmers. This move towards organic is thought to make a significant impact, as a group produces thirteen million cages of teaper year. The KINNAKARAI factory itself has about eight hundred small growers attached to it, farming about six hundred acres, and the desire to turn organic seems to be a clear direction forward. From the initiatives planned, the horticulture department has been developing a mobile APP called organic needalgreas to help farmers understand organic farming practices and use the APP to access information about things they can do, whether it's introduction of vegetables or farming, or preparation of bio inputs the farm level, or even understanding the procedures that organic certification demands. Already, organic vegetable cultivations being carried out on about two thousand three seventy hectares in the district. A lot of large t estates are also organic, about two thousand and sixty five hectares and an organic t cultivation. There's additionally about five hundred sixty hectares of coffee, which is practicing organic farming, and after three continuous years of farming organically, the farmer will receive the organic certificate. But the department's hoping to see is that entire district will eventually be completely organic. A world over, organic continues to hold attraction to consumers and they also hold the promise of better prices, which would be a welcome change for tea farmers here in the Needlereaes who've been struggling with both market conditions and climate change. Last year production fell almost four percent in the Neilgreas, and it was only December that brought some respite in production grew. December saw production of one point zero four million kgs, which is up eight percent from December of two thousand and nineteen and this was also the highest is measured by the five year mean for December, which stands at zero nine million cages. But what also further compounded the problem here is the impact of covid induced lockdown, leading to an overall reduced output in two thousand and twenty. So all eyes out on how to see how will be organic may also mean Lord production initially, but it carries with it the promise of better quality and a better t one that both the domestic and export markets increasingly favor. I've been that an entrament signing up intrigued by what you heard today's podcast. Would you like to learn more from our global network TV Biz journalist and T experts? Contact them direct through subtext, a private message based platform. Avoid the chaos of social media and start a conversation that matters. Subtext Message Base Platform let's you privately ask meaningful questions of the Texperts, academics and t Biz journalists reporting from the Tea Lens. You see their responses via SMS texts which are sent to wreck to your phone. visit our website and subscribe to subtext to instantly connect with the most connected people and tea. Remember to visit the t Biz website for more comprehensive coverage.

That'sh W A WWT BIZCOM. Thanks for listening. Farewell, till next week.

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