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Ceylon Tea Services is calling on the government to support a common brand name for the tea trade, through a package of incentives similar to the early 1980s offer.

The Dilmah brand rode off the support given in the 1980s programme, today to become a leading international brand.

Company officials say it is still not too late for policy makers to support a common brand for the trade, offering all tea exporters an equal opportunity to reach stardom in the international arena.

Ceylon Tea Services says its brand of teas fetched an average Rs. 588 per kilo in 2002, while the average of the top ten exporters was at Rs. 206.

Chairman Merrill J Fernando says the branding efforts could be the only factor that would fetch better prices for tea producers.

Meanwhile, the firms Dilmah brand will also take its t-Bar concept started in Colombo earlier in 2003, overseas with the first outlet in Italy.

The concept of the t-Bar is aimed at attracting the young adult population to drink teas.

The firms say its concept is based on innovation, which is a vital tool to keep ahead of competition in the international beverage markets.

Sri Lanka was the test bed for the t-Bar, which serves visitors with tea included cocktails and fruit juice mixes along, with snacks that incorporate tea as an ingredient.

The concept also has a range of teas, packaged to attract the target market.

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