Tea researchers in Assam have discovered the toffee route to a “minor” consumer base — children.
For ages, parents across India have dissuaded children from sipping the cup that cheers. While many adults acknowledge tea as a health drink — anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant and anti-bacterial — they would rather keep their wards away from the “beverage of grown-ups”.
Smarting from a prolonged market slump, the Rs 800-crore tea industry in Assam has been chanting the value-addition mantra for quite some time now. Now, researchers at Tocklai Experimental Station (TES) in eastern Assam’s Jorhat town subsequently formulated Tea Cola and Tea Tablet, essentially for adults.
It then struck Tocklai scientists that they were ignoring a major chunk of India’s population — minors up to an age of 10 who by 2016 are projected to reach a population of 262 crore. Out came the Tea Toffee from the laboratory. “Tea Toffee has all the properties of orthodox or green tea with a glucose base that children will find hard to resist. Parents too will not feel guilty about letting their wards chew or suck on it,” TES administrative officer P.K. Dutta told HT. Established in 1901, TES is the world’s oldest and largest tea research centre.
According to Dutta, firms from across the country, and in Australia and the UK have approached Tocklai to market the toffee. “If produced in bulk, the Tea Toffee should sell at 50 paise or Re 1 if it is marketed as a lollipop,” Dutta said. Though TES has “everything in order” for commercial production, it is awaiting the final patent rights expected within the next few weeks.