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Why youth no longer find tea boring

By Jeckonia Otieno | May 10th 2017

In Nairobi, tea is no longer just a breakfast beverage. A glance at supermarket shelves will reveal just how much tea has become part of an urban culture.

It comes in different shades and varieties - green, purple, lime. This is the new approach employed by one of Kenya's top tea processors and exporters, Gold Crown Beverages Kenya Ltd, to attract young people to adopt a culture of tea-drinking.

The company, which processes different tea flavours, is known for its Kericho Gold brand that hit the market a few years ago.

Fahim Ahmed, the company's managing director, says the strategy was to have tea compete with coffee for the love of the youth.

Ahmed says the tea flavours targeting the youth are known as 'attitude teas' because of the various feelings and emotions they are meant to represent.

"This brand was launched with the sole purpose of addressing the issue of the younger generation, which has been moving away from tea consumption because of the belief they hold that tea is boring compared to coffee," he argues.

Appear fancy

Coffee has a variety of brands such as cappuccino, Americano, and latte, which appear fancy to young people. And they are served in cafes where the youth have access to the internet and can catch up with friends. This is the journey Ahmed says Gold Crown is seeking to take tea consumption in Kenya on.

"The coffee industry has been very innovative and has found new ways to understand the younger generation. You will agree with me that more people under the age of 35 consume coffee compared to tea," Ahmed added.

He says if the trends do not change, then Kenya might end up with a generation that does not take tea mainly because "tea is black and that's all". The packaging is youth-centred.

"If you look at the pack for instance, we call the tea bags 'selfies', and on the packs it is written 25 selfies, meaning there are 25 individual tea bags," says Ahmed.

The colour variation is also noticeable with the packaging. For instance, on the pack of one there is a line saying 'Pineapple and Mango Tea'. The lines that follow are 'Hello Sunshine XoXo'. With the chocolate tea, the line for the youth is 'Me Time. The Almighty Distraction'. And green tea mint has 'Keep Calm. Hakuna Matata'.

Branding is based on the trends affecting the youth. "In this way, we are able to get young people to go to restaurants to take tea and also buy it from retail chains," he says.

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