Sri Lanka tea exporter sees lifestyle trends expanding market

July 08, 2008 (LBO) – Changing consumer tastes and a willingness to pay a premium for a superior product should help tea producers, who until recent years had faced stagnant prices, a top Sri Lankan exporter says. Anslem Perera, managing director of Euro Scan, says tea producers and exporters were making use of traditional consumption trends to make new products that appeal to a new generation of consumers.

Lifestyle retail marketing is playing a growing role in the selling of tea.

Traditional tea houses were growing in sophistication and new forms like tea bars and tea kiosks had emerged.

These outlets offer a modern ambience to attract sophisticated, young consumers in the same way as coffee bars, Perera told the Sri Lanka Economic Summit last week.

“The new generation which recognises quality is willing to pay a premium for a superior quality product.”

For years, tea prices at the Colombo auctions had stagnated below one dollar a kilo and only in recent months have priced risen beyond two dollars, industry officials said.

Exporters and producers are now getting food safety and fair trade certification to meet the high food standard requirements of the sophisticated world, Perera