In India, tea, locally known as chai, is everything! There are multiple preparations; however, the most popular concoction is a thick sweet drink that is consumed at regular intervals every day no matter the time or occasion.
About 79 percent of non-alcoholic beverage consumption in India is ruled by chai, which amounts to a total market of US$30 billion. India is also one of the top tea exporters, and exported about 240.7 million kilograms of tea in 2017, an all-time high over the past 36 years. However, Indian tea exports do not have a brand identity. Tea is exported in bulk and the companies that export tea do not necessarily have a corresponding tea brand for the local Indian market.
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The most popular chai brands in India
Tea is a commodity that is cherished in India regardless of caste, class, or religion. It’s a must-have for every household and almost a necessity for most Indians. There are multiple local and international tea brands available in the Indian market and the competition is extremely tough. According to a 2018 consumer survey, the most famous Indian chai brand is Society Tea. This tea is a product of Hasmukh & Co. and well-established in the domestic market since 1933. It offers a variety of tea flavors and ranges.
In the organic green tea range, Tulsi Green Tea is a popular choice for health enthusiasts. The tea brand advertises itself to be 100 percent organic, with health benefits to improve metabolism and combat weight issues. This tea brand offers a wide range of teas for several health disorders, such as insomnia, acne, and stomach aches.
Another local tea brand that entirely dominates the Western states of India, and is also becoming popular in the North, is Wagh Bakri. This tea company was founded in 1892 and is known for its unique spice blend and taste. Since it is a local brand, many Indian expats are known to purchase this particular tea in large quantities during their trips back home. Pataka is another local tea brand that is quite popular. This one is famous not only for its taste but also for its supremely cheap price. Tata Tea and Brooke Bond are other widely consumed tea brands in India.
Indian tea exports
India is the second-largest tea exporter in the world and annually produces about 1,200 million kilograms. Indian tea largely belongs to the black tea category and is famous for its wide range, such as Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, and Dooras, to name a few. Compared to 2016, Indian tea exports rose by 8.2 percent in 2017 and the total value of tea exported was Rs 4731.66 crores ($US 711 million). India’s top tea importers are Russia, U.S., UK, Egypt, Iran, China, UAE, Germany, Japan, France, Morocco, Canada, and Sri Lanka. A feature unique to India’s tea production is its capability to manufacture both CTC (crush, tear, curl) and orthodox tea, as well as green tea.
The top tea exporters of India are Mcleod Russel India Ltd., Bhansali & Co., Girnar Food & Beverages Pvt. Ltd., Limitex (India) Ltd., Ambo Exports Industries Ltd., J. V. Gokal & Co. Pvt. Ltd., and Unilever India Exports Ltd. Since Indian tea exporters focus on the mass production and sale of bulk tea, they do not necessarily have their own tea brand.
However, when it comes to Indian tea manufacturers, Tata Global Beverages is a force to be reckoned with. It is India’s second-largest manufacturer and distributor of tea, second to Unilever. Tata also has a partnership with Starbucks in India, and the venture and its products are becoming quite popular across the country.