Tetley launches ‘chai-style’ tea

Tetley, the UK tea company part-owned by Tata Group, is trying to break into the UK’s high street coffee bars with the launch of Chaya, a range of Indian-inspired latte-style teas.

Aimed at 25- to 35-year-old upmarket women, Chaya is sold as a concentrate to which hot frothy milk is added. Tetley expects it to sell at about the same price as a latte coffee. Its main rival in the UK high street is US brand Tazo, supplier of tea to Starbucks, which offers a range of chai-style products as well as more traditional teas.

Chaya is based on traditional Indian chai tea, usually served with hot milk from roadside stalls. In the past year or so, chai-style teas have become a popular alternative to coffee in trendy American cafés and restaurants. Tetley hopes for similar success in the UK, says Tetley senior brand manager for out of home Lisa Merrick.

Merrick adds that the launch, at the end of this month, will be supported by an Indian-themed below-the-line campaign through RPM3, including visits to selected cafés by “Chaya Wallahs” to encourage consumers to try the product.

Although tea is still thought of as the UK’s national drink, sales of the main tea brands have been shrinking over the past few decades, falling by 3.5 per cent in 2003. Major tea brands – including Unilever’s PG Tips, Associated British Foods’ Twinings and Premier Foods’ Typhoo, as well as Tetley – have been trying to promote growth by developing new mainstream premium products and niche markets.

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