labels: foods / beverages, duncans, marketing - general
Tea as you like it at Duncans — strong, flavoured or right blendnews
Mohini Bhatnagar
19 April 2003
Mumbai: The big players in the tea industry have begun copying marketing tactics of small players and though their efforts are on a much larger scale the basic idea remains the same.

Small tea players, who retail mainly loose tea, offer a unique selling proposition, and that is to provide tea keeping individual preferences in mind. Thus, at any of the teashops that dot the markets of metros and mini metros across India, customers can order special blends of tea by outlining their preferences. Thus, customers who desire strong, yet fragrant, flavoured tea can get what they want and that too after tasting the required beverage.

For big tea companies selling packed tea competing with this kind of service is virtually impossible but one such company seems to have found a way to compete with the smaller players who are eating into its market share.

The Duncan''s group with brands like Double Diamond, Sargam, Shakti and Runglee Rungliot has set up a chain of tea parlours under the Duncan''s Tea House brand in Kolkata in an effort to have a branded presence in the loose tea segment. Company officials say the company intends to give its customer the ultimate perfect tea-blend within the shortest possible time so that the freshness of tea is ensured.

At present at Duncan''s Tea House more than 10,000 cups of tea are sampled everyday and all the people walking in at Duncan''s Tea House are assured of getting a cup tea regardless of whether they buy anything. And in the famed tradition of loose tea sellers it may be a strong tea or flavoured one or just the right blend.

Duncans Tea House has about 80 outlets in West Bengal. By the end of 2003, the company plans to have about 250 such outlets in the state. It also plans to expand on a national scale and will open outlets in Gujarat, the largest tea-consuming state in the country, and from there to Madhya Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Duncans is among the big players in the tea industry, owning 13 tea estates located in the Dooars, Terai and Darjeeling. The packet tea business of the company enjoys a market share of 7-8 per cent.

The total consumption of tea in India is 550 million kg, of which about half is sold in a loose form and the rest in packets. In West Bengal, of the total tea consumption of 45-million kg, 90 per cent of it is sold in loose form. In other parts of India too the percentage of consumers buying loose tea is almost the same as that in West Bengal.


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Tea as you like it at Duncans — strong, flavoured or right blend