Martyn Fisher talks to Taylors of Harrogate channel controller Greg Harvey about how they are adapting to thrive in a rapidly evolving hot drinks market
How has Taylors of Harrogate helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
Taylors is dedicated to doing ‘everything proper’ and including supporting the sector with TV campaigns. Our Brownlee Brothers TV ad came back on air this July, for example.
Consumers want more decaf options, so, to support wholesalers and help them take advantage of the trend, we recently launched Yorkshire Tea Decaf 40s, pricemarked at £1.89 exclusively for the channel. Previously, the Decaf pricemarked pack had only been available in 80 bags.
What is the greatest challenge the industry faces?
The Tesco/Booker merger means big changes. As channels increasingly merge, so will the way wholesalers interact with their suppliers, customers and competitors.
The pace and convenience expected by wholesale customers is also moving up a gear, so wholesalers will need to ensure they have the right technology to deal with this shift.
Are you planning any activity of which wholesalers should be aware?
We are excited to announce that, from October, Yorkshire Tea will be the only major tea brand offering the same strength across all its products.
We want to ensure that consumers can enjoy a high-quality brew in and out of the home, so we have brought our One Cup products in line with our standard bags, increasing the tea bag weight from 2.5g to 3.125g.
What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?
Consumers want premium products that are affordable and easy to use. Stocking the finest black teas and a good-quality coffee, including roast and ground options like our Rich Italian blend, will help your customers tap into this trend. Yorkshire Gold is great for customers wanting to trade up from their usual brew. Also, decaf and herbal options are perfect for health-conscious consumers who are willing to pay more for ‘permissible treats’.
What challenges has Taylors had to overcome this year?
Assam is one of our most important tea-growing areas, but the large communities in this region – one of the poorest in India – face deep-rooted challenges. We have been working hard to deliver meaningful change in the estate communities we buy from.
We have joined with the Ethical Tea Partnership to provide essential funding for a welfare programme, ensured all our Assam suppliers are Rainforest Alliance certified and engaged the Indian Tea Association to draw up a roadmap for a sustainable Indian tea industry.
What is Taylors’ greatest achievement in the past year?
One of the standout achievements was being honoured with a 2017 Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, in recognition of our work to build a sustainable tea and coffee supply chain.
What would you like to see happen in wholesaling in the next 12 months?
We would like to embrace a more collaborative approach with wholesalers. Suppliers and wholesalers would both benefit from sharing knowledge, to drive new differentiated product development that generates value. This is crucial to moving the sector forward.
What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales of hot beverages?
Be sure to keep up with current trends and today’s customer needs, and stock a good range of products that will appeal to all consumers.
Yorkshire Tea commands around
of the black tea market, second only to PG Tips, according to Mintel data