• According to statistics from Tea Directorate, out of the annual production of 450 million kgs of tea, only 30 million is consumed locally.
• Mutahi said most homes have moved from the normal black tea to the flavoured tea which they believe is healthier.
Flavoured teas are gaining momentum in the Kenyan market.
This could be attributed be to the changing healthy eating lifestyle and now the flavoured tea is a hit in today’s market especially amongst the youth.
Flora Mutahi, CEO Melvins Tea said more people are preferring the flavoured beverage than the traditional black tea.
She said the ginger, lemon, masala, chamomile among other flavoured tea are being served in many middle-class homes more compared to the conventional black teas.
“The uptake of the flavoured tea in the Kenyan market is good and continues to grow. There is pride with what goes with our natural products. As much as we are a tea-drinking country, the flavoured tea is becoming fashionable especially with the young people,” Mutahi told the Star in an interview.
Mutahi said most homes have moved from the normal black tea to the flavoured tea which they believe is healthier.
Kenyans, she added, are going to products that promote natural things and healthy living.
Last year, the Agriculture Food Authority-AFA started a strategy to expand local tea consumption due to global oversupply of the commodity that was pushing down prices.
According to statistics from Tea Directorate, out of the annual production of 450 million kgs of tea, only 30 million is consumed locally.
Government data indicates that Kenya's per capita tea consumption stands at 0.5 kgs compared to the global average of one kg per person per year. Kenya plans to increase the share of local consumption from the current 6.6 per cent to 15 per cent in the next five years.
Kenya is the third top tea producer in the world after China and India, and the country's key tea markets include Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan and Britain.
She said as Melvin’s Tea celebrates tea blending for over two decades, one of the major problem facing the tea value-chain is a dysfunctional and inefficient tea auction system characterised by lack of transparency, accountability, and competition.
This, Mutahi said has made the sector prone to manipulation, capture, insider trading, and cartelization by value-chain players leading to ineffective price discovery, low prices and poor earnings to tea farmers.
“The structural character of the tea auction in Mombasa in terms of management, governance, and decision-making processes is that it is a club where all value chain players with a direct commercial interest in the outcome of the auction process run the auction. This is a serious conflict of interest that predisposes the auction process to capture by vested interests, insider trading, price-fixing, and other malpractices,” said Mutahi.
She said in Kenya, we consume less than five per cent local and then value addition is two to three per cent though it is growing.
"The challenge in value addition is access to markets. Government marketing is required if we are going to succeed in selling our branded tea in the bilateral market,” she said adding that value addition of tea, coffee and macadamia have got to be promoted so that the country benefits from jobs and the hard-earned revenue.