Tata Global Beverages Ltd (TGBL), formerly Tata Tea Ltd, is mulling a possible entry into nourishing foods segment. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kerala Ayurvdeda for wellness beverages and food products made from ayurveda recipes and formulations. This is an equal joint venture.

The future foray was indicated here by Chairman Ratan Tata at the annual general meeting of the company. This was the first year of meeting after the company's name change.

He said that the company was now being transformed from a plantation-based tea company to become a creator and marketer of beverages and foods, ready-to-drink teas and wellness beverages, resting on the plank of health and wellness. “The name is changed to reflect the company's direction,” he said.

It may be mentioned that through its brands such as Tata Tea and its acquired brands like Tetley, Good Earth, Eight O' Clock, Himalayan, Vitax, SUKK, T4KIDZ and Lager, as well as through its joint ventures, the company so far had a presence in the tea, coffee and wellness beverage sector. Tata Tea is now being launched in Germany, Mr. Tata said. In his opening remarks he said that the year under review had been one of challenge due to the increase in raw materials. He said that revenues were targeted to rise to $5 billion from $1.3 billion now as the company moved up the value chain. This would be done through acquisitions too, although there were no active plans on this.

Replying to shareholder's query he said that the group's plan was to increase holding although it was restricted by regulations on making creeping acquisitions. It did not want to increase holding by the preferential debenture route either. “But we will continue to increase our holdings,” he said.

He said that the MoU with Starbucks had the scope of supplying tea and coffee to them as also the scope of joint retailing through Starbucks outlets.

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