The tea industry in Pakistan is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of eight percent (Source: Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, 2015). This is attributed to increased interest in new tea consumption formats (think teabags). Keeping this market dynamic in view, Tapal recently re-launched their instant tea, under the umbrella of their flagship brand Tapal Danedar.
Accounting for 50% of the total tea market in Pakistan (in terms of consumption), the branded tea category is dominated by Tapal (over 50% market share) and Unilever’s Lipton. In the last three years, Eastern Tea Company’s brand Vital has emerged as a significant third player.
With in-house market studies confirming that a majority of Pakistanis now have a preference for ready-to-consume products and beverages, Tapal decided to add instant tea to their product portfolio of over 20 leaf and dust tea variants.
This is not Tapal’s first foray in the instant tea category. The company first launched their instant tea – Instea – in 2009, as a standalone brand. However, the brand failed. Khurram Koraishy, GM Marketing, Tapal, says Instea failed “because there were problems with the packaging which caused the tea to go bad and we had to withdraw it from the market. Also, six years ago, the concept of ready-to-drink tea was too new for Pakistani tea drinkers and this too contributed to the failure.”
According to Koraishy, thanks to the inroads made in the urban market by instant coffee and ready-to-eat frozen products, the concept of instant hot beverages in no longer novel, which is why Tapal re-entered the instant tea category at the end of last year.
He adds that “the market is likely to be a lot more receptive to the idea today and winter is always a good time for new launches in the tea market as there are more chances to increase product acceptance and adoption.”
To avoid the mistakes of the past Koraishy says that “our priority was to get the product composition and packaging absolutely right.”
Consequently, considerable time and money was invested in product development. There were several cycles of product trials and Tapal’s blenders formulated different ones, by varying the amounts and kinds of sugar and milk used. It took several months of in-house sampling after which the formulation was finalised.
Koraishy identifies two primary differences between Tapal’s first instant tea initiative and the recent launch.
Firstly, instead of opting for a new brand launch as they did with Instea, 3 in 1 Instant Tea was launched as an extension of Tapal Danedar in order to leverage the equity the brand enjoys.
Secondly, an important change was made in the ingredient makeup. While Instea was a regular cup of black tea with a designated amount of sugar with Nestlé EveryDay pre-added, elaichi (cardamom) was added to the new 3 in 1 Instant Tea, while Nestlé EveryDay was replaced by premium quality imported milk. The addition of elaichi was prompted by research findings that revealed that tea is rarely consumed on its own in Pakistan and almost 30% of tea drinkers use elaichi as an additive due to its distinct taste and fragrance.
Carrying a tagline of ‘Your Taste on the Go’, Tapal Danedar 3 in 1 Instant Tea has been positioned as ‘your cup of tea when you are out of home’. Or as Koraishy puts it: “our USP is convenience – we save people the time and hassle of mixing all the ingredients typically needed to brew a cup of tea.”
Despite the addition of cardamom (the third most expensive spice in the world), keeping the product affordable was an important consideration. According to Koraishy, “although as of now Tapal is the only branded player in the instant tea category, we will be competing against the popular doodh patti sold at dhabas across Pakistan.” As a result, the product has been launched in only one
SKU, a sachet, which is good for one cup of tea, and priced at a very affordable Rs 25 – approximately the same price as a cup of doodh patti in Pakistan’s urban centres.
In terms of the media mix, Tapal has traditionally maintained the ATL: BTL ratio for its marketing campaigns at 40:60, Koraishy says that “from the onset, we were aware of the fact that this budget split will not be effective for 3 in 1 Instant Tea.”
As the product is only available in four cities (Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi), Tapal decided to forego a TVC due to the excessive costs of producing and airing it. In Koraishy’s opinion, “a TVC is warranted only when a brand is available across the rural-urban divide.”
Consequently the campaign brief provided to IAL Saatchi & Saatchi (Tapal’s creative agency) was to design billboards and standees and a few print advertisements.
“The major chunk of the budget,” says Koraishy, “was spent on sampling in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi so as to generate positive word-of-mouth. We also devised an engaging digital campaign on Facebook as our target audience is both urban and digitally savvy.”
Speaking about market response, Koraishy says that to achieve the sales targets that have been set, there are several challenges Tapal will need to deal with effectively. Firstly, as 3 in 1 Instant Tea is not a high-value, high-volume product compared to mass market brands like Tapal Danedar and Tapal Family Mixture, convincing retailers to stock the product, preventing stock-outs and maintaining the interest of the sales team in pushing the product in the long run are all crucial factors. Secondly, Tapal is offering a standardised alternative to a beverage that is a highly personal and emotive product for Pakistanis; it cannot be concentrated or diluted and contains a fixed amount of tea and milk. The deciding factor in the success of 3 in 1 Instant Tea, in Koraishy’s opinion, will be the number of people willing to compromise on the taste they are used to in exchange for an unvarying, ready-to-drink formulation while away from the convenience of their home.