Mint. TCPL, which sells packaged beverages under brands such as Tata Tea Premium, Tata Tea Chakra, Tata Grand coffee and bottled water under Himalayan, reported a 5% dip in volume growth in the December quarter in its India beverage business on account of price corrections as well as demand slowdown in key markets. Das said while demand had softened in the December quarter, the trends in the months of December and January were relatively better.
Edited excerpts from an interview: Overall, is premiumization a key theme for your growth trajectory? From a packaged beverage point of view, premiumization, convenience, and health and wellness are the three vectors we have been working on. In the tea portfolio, we launched Gold Care, which is an everyday tea with natural ingredients and fits in the health and wellness portfolio. After covid-19 immunity has found a resurgence in terms of a benefit consumers are looking for.
In coffee, it’s a lot about offering convenience and premiumize the cost per serve. We are also growing the bottom part of the portfolio, which is Tata Tea Agni. In fact, we went through this exercise of integrating all our economy brands under one portfolio, which is Agni, so we can leverage the advertising behind it.
This year has been a soft year for tea overall but in the long term it is a growth driver. Was the softness in demand in the packaged beverages business in the December quarter, especially in tea, largely in the mass market? Yes, we did see some tightening, there’s obviously an overall atmosphere of inflation, and people are feeling it across categories. Consumers tend to downgrade or go for lower pack sizes; rural demand gets a little bit impacted.