TGB has a long history of innovation. From path breaking tea bag formats to the way we connect with consumers, innovation has always been intrinsic to our culture. In addition to priding itself on a tradition of high-quality teas, our brand Tetley is also a leader in tea category innovation.
In 2012, the Tetley brand celebrated its 175th birthday. The tea brand was launched in 1837 when 2 brothers, Joseph and Edward Tetley, started selling tea, which became extremely popular and motivated them to set-up as tea merchants.
Tetley catalyzed the rapid growth of the tea bag. In 1989 Tetley introduced the round tea bag, a result of five years of development. Its round shape was particularly suited to the growing habit of brewing tea in mugs; it proved immensely popular and made Tetley the market leader.
The increasing popularity of brewing tea in mugs focused on a new problem –fishing the infused bag out of the brew! Once again Tetley came up with a solution the introduction of the drip-less tea bag - Drawstring, now called Easy Squeeze. This a two stringed tag-bag in which the perforated tag is hung over the handle of the mug during brewing. The two halves of the tag are separated, pulled apart and the strings squeeze the contents, strengthening the brew and making disposal easy.
The Tetley drip-less tea bag was launched in Australia late in 1994 and is now on sale in Britain, the US, France, Russia and Poland.
Tetley has continued to develop and introduce new products to the range. In 2004 we introduced a range of Fruit and Herbal infusions and in 2012 we launched a mixture of Black and Green tea - 'Blend of Both' which offers tea lovers the best of both in one cup: the full flavor of black tea and the goodness of green tea without the bitter taste.
In India, Tata Tea turned 50 years old in 2012. The brand was set-up in 1962 as a joint venture between Tata Sons and James Finlay and Company, the UK-based tea plantation company when the packaged tea market was dominated by one large player with over 70% market share. While most saw entering this market as an almost-impossible task, Tata Tea envisioned an opportunity.
The brand came up with an innovative way to capture the market and establish brand presence by pioneering a revolution in packaging by introducing the polypack in 1985. The polypack helped deliver 'garden fresh' tea to consumers and created a stir in the FMCG industry thereby sealing Tata Tea's presence in India.
In 2014, Tata Tea entered the green tea category with Tata Tea Acti Green, an innovative product aimed at democratising green tea with milder blends in unique Indian flavours. Its 50 grams polypack is also a first-of-its-kind in the green tea segment, ensuring a further reach at a value for money price.
Our coffee brand in the US, Eight O'Clock Coffee has a rich history dating back to 1859. The 150-plus-year-old brand is still as fresh as ever — in terms of taste as well as in connecting with coffee drinkers.
Considered a pioneer in the social networking arena, the brand has always cherished its connection with consumers. In 1933 the very first Times Square "spectacular" billboard appeared: a giant, 25-foot-tall cup of Eight O'Clock Coffee that gave off real steam! In 2010, the brand's groundbreaking online package design survey marked the first time a major national brand asked for input from its fans on such a scale. Two package designs were presented at a special website, and the brand rewarded those who participated in the voting.
Unlike many of its mass-market competitors, Eight O'Clock Coffee's brand was built largely on its strength - a consistently excellent product and the word-of mouth loyalty of coffee drinkers who relished the authentic, delicious home-brewed coffee experience.
In its latest avatar, the brand re-launched in 2013 with exciting new variants catering to varied consumer tastes. The varieties are grouped into 3 families — Beginnings, Explorations and Expressions, to make it easier for consumers to find their favourite, and to experience some new innovative flavours.
At a brand and product level, we are using our imagination to change and inspire the way consumers enjoy tea and coffee around the world, and are applying this passion and insight to the rest of the beverages' category. We are constantly re-imagining our brands in light of the ever-changing consumer and market landscape.
While Tetley invented the tea bag, Tata Tea brought 'garden fresh' tea to consumers. Tata Water Plus from the house of NourishCo (a 50:50 JV between Tata Global Beverages and PepsiCo) is India's first nutrient water which looks and tastes like normal water but with the added goodness of nutrients - Zinc and Copper. It allows consumers to treat every occasion of thirst as an opportunity to enhance health.
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Innovation in communication and route to market
Our desire to innovate and break barriers extends to our communication with the consumer. We are leveraging our products to bring about social change and to spark positive conversations.
Over the last 25 years, Tata Tea has evolved from being a brand that promised freshness of the tea gardens, to a brand that awakens every Indian through its landmark Jaago Re platform. Tetley's 'Farmers First Hand' (FFH) is an innovative social media initiative using Facebook, where consumers can talk directly with the people who pick their tea.
Under route to market, 'Gaon Chalo' (go to the village) was conceived as a unique distribution model that would help us travel the last mile effectively in rural markets in India. It is an opportunity, responsibility and a challenge which while tapping unreached rural markets also provides a means of sustainable livelihood to many.
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