KENYA – Kenya Tea Packers (Ketepa) is seeking to expand its market across the continent as it as looks to grow sales of ready-to-drink tea varieties, with focus markets including South Africa and Nigeria.
The company’s managing director Albert Otochi said the firm is set to leverage on the free market protocol to collaborate with key distributors in western and southern Africa to sell its teas at various retail outlets.
Ketepa, which already has presence in North and Eastern African markets such as Egypt, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania has also introduced an online platform to help foreign retailers and individual buyers directly source the beverage the company.
The company has also partnered with Kenyan retail chain, Naivas Supermarkets, in the launch of an inaugural tea month campaign dubbed ‘Kenya Tea Month’ in a bid to grow tea consumption in the country.
Scheduled to run for the whole of August every year, the Kenya Tea Month is aimed at doubling tea intake by Kenyans with a strategy of increasing consumption of speciality tea away from the widely consumed black tea.
Speaking during the official commencement of the specialty commemoration, Naivas CEO Willy Kimani said the two firms have decided to bring together the best of both worlds and strong indigenous brands to raise awareness and endear Kenyans to tea.
Despite Kenya being the world leading exporter of black tea, data from the Tea Directorate of Agriculture and Foods Authority shows Kenyans consume only five percent of the total tea produced in the country.
The partnership seeks to change the narrative by presenting an n opportunity for tea consumers to taste the new innovations, engage tea experts as well as getting insights from about tea and health.
“Shopping trends indicate that the younger generation especially, are looking for new innovations in tea,” said Kimani. “We believe that this way, local tea consumption will move to 10 per cent of total production.”
Kimani said diversifying various tea flavours would help sell the Ketepa brand that has been in the market for the past 40 years. The innovative flavors include the wellness range of herbal infusions and the specialty range that covers purple tea, white tea and orthodox tea.
“We have innovated tea over the years to keep up with divergent tastes and lifestyles, and today have more than 20 varieties, flavors and infusions,” said Albert adding “we are targeting all segments of consumers, though the young discerning market are keen to explore and fit tea into their lifestyle.”
Ketepa says it earned US$2 million (Sh200 million) in revenue from selling tea via Naivas’ 54 retail chains.