The ultimate goal of being a leading international brand has brought a new entrant to the local tea marketing fraternity – J V Gokal Ceylon, the Indo-Lanka BOI venture of J V Gokal & Company India will commence tea bagging operations in September.
Initially packing a country origin tea, the firm will develop a full range of novelty teas catering to the young consumers pallet, says Director of the local arm Vijith Perera.
Similar offices are also being set up in other tea producing and large consuming nations, with confirmed plans including Mombassa (Kenya), Blantyre (Malawi), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and Dubai.
The offices will develop individual identities and products, only coordinating research and marketing so as to avoid replication, Perera added.
The international offices will give the Gokal brand, like from Sri Lanka, initially a country origin range, making up one of the widest portfolio if single origin teas in the market.
Each office will also have a research and development arm concentrating on innovation and new trend for the ancient brew while developing country distinctive blends.
Out of Sri Lanka, the local team will work on non traditional products with which the firm aims to encourage a younger generation of tea drinkers.
Part of this research and development will be in to a line of products which will be 100 per cent organic down to the flavouring, says Perera.
Teas will be sourced through the local auction system, with preference to teas coming from ISO and HACCP certified processing centres, in line with its internal quality control measures.
Company officials say initial investments will cover the packing plant including the packing machines, the research and development arm, the marketing team and a blending facility.
Perera says his Indian associates would consider further investments if a viable business opportunity came up including entry into the plantation sector.
Meanwhile, marketing efforts out of Sri Lanka will leverage on the Ceylon brand to capture market share in destination were local teas are popular and some newer markets.
Gokal India is currently strong in the Kazakhstan market with a growing presence in neighbouring CIS countries along with its wide presence in India.