Times of the pandemic is an inflection point in the path of economic and social progress, COVID has been one such point of inflection which has turned all the established canons of business topsyturvy and has forced all the players to grow back to the drawing board to calibrate the strategies and reorient to the new post COVID order.

The new normal that is now being talked about is a moment of reckoning for the tea industry. COVID has seen a huge surge in demand and with the first phase of lockdown, tea got positioned as the elixir of life to survive COVID. Mr. Joydeep Phukan, Principal Officer and Secretary TRA– underlined that TF and TR, which are integral components of black tea have great medicinal value to check Hepatitis C and this arose out of a tweet and a scientific paper that was published.

Groping in the dark to find solutions to COVID, the medicinal values of tea which were circulating came to the fore from China, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka and it led to an increase in consumption of tea on account of perceived immunity based properties. Dr. Anoop Kumar Barooah Director, TRA underlined that modern research on tea has underlined what was known about tea for a thousand years- its diversified medicinal values.

It has given the idea for the creation of a new variety of tea to be introduced into the market- immunity-boosting cups, which can change the entire paradigm of the manner in which tea has been marketed so far. 

What has emerged as the underlying motif post-COVID is to leverage on data and associate it with technology to establish new market linkages, If one were to talk in context of tea, then COVID has presented an opportunity to focus on new technological interventions to chart to new areas of marketing or rather create new markets which otherwise was not being focused upon on account of the routine in which everyone was sailing into, 

The biggest stumbling block of marketing companies, according to Bezboruah, is that the entire competition between the companies is on price and not on the specialty and COVID has given the opportunity for the industry to re-discover itself and position tea as a niche product.

COVID has emphasized virtues of consuming hot water, which would kill the viruses, and when medicinal values of tea are underlined as an addendum, new markets would be automatically created, It has been showcased in London where hot tea consumption has increased phenomenally. 

COVID has provided a solution for tea to break the shackles of competition on price components and to start carving a niche on value propositions. The ball is now in the court of the industry. Would it take the bait?

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