The Rich Heritage of Wagh Bakri Tea Company- A Journey through Time
by Wagh Bakri on Aug 24, 2023
Chai kaisi lenge? Meethi ya kum shakkar? Chai ke saath kya lenge?
Whether you're in the serene hills of the north or the bustling streets of the south, once you enter any home, these are some of the most common questions you’ll be asked. Chai or tea in India is no ordinary drink; it’s a heartfelt bond that strings together emotions, people and laughter. In fact, tea brings folks together so effortlessly that the word "adda" has become synonymous with the tea-drinking experience. A place where people sit and bond over chai.
Amidst this love for tea, an iconic name stands tall - the Wagh Bakri Tea Company, a legacy that has spanned a century. In this blog will delve into the captivating journey of this brand, tracing its evolution through time and its indelible impact on the tea culture of India. From the warmth of Wagh Bakri spiced tea that dances on the taste buds, to the refreshing innovation of their Wagh Bakri ice tea, this brand has masterfully etched itself into the hearts of customers, marking its presence across generations.
Table of Contents
- The Story of Wagh Bakri Tea
- Wagh Bakri’s Philosophy
- Pioneering Moments of Wagh Bakri Tea
- Challenges and Obstacles
- Adapting to Changing Trends
- CSR by Wagh Bakri Tea
- Global Recognition and Awards
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Story of Wagh Bakri Tea
It was 1892 when a visionary businessman saw the potential of the tea industry in India. This was Shri Narandas Desai, whose tea empire bloomed on 500 acres in South Africa. But amid success, racial discrimination cast its bitter shadow. He thought of returning to his homeland but here too colonial rule held sway.
Yet, in the most unlikely of friendships, Narandas found solace in the presence of none other than Mahatma Gandhi himself! Imagine! A tea entrepreneur bonding with the man who’d later spin the wheels of independence. Despite apartheid’s oppressive grip, Narandas carried the dream of brewing magical Wagh Bakri Indian tea. With a certificate signed by his mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, Narandas sailed back home.
The certificate read “I knew Mr Narandas Desai in South Africa, where he was for a number of years a successful tea planter”. This served as a token of help to ease migration back home.
Wagh Bakri’s Philosophy
Mahatma Gandhi’s values and ethics became the spices that flavoured Narandas’s personal and business life. Walking in Gandhiji’s footprints, Wagh Bakri Tea company spread a message of equality through its unique logo - a depiction of a tiger (representing the British) and a goat (symbolising Indians) sipping from the same cup. The logo was inspired by the Quit India movement philosophy, embodying the spirit of unity.
Building long-lasting relationships
For over 130 years, Wagh Bakri has been more than a tea company; it's a creator of connections and a nurturer of relationships. Beyond the delightful aroma and taste of every cup, it's the commitment to quality that has defined their journey. The directors' personal involvement in the tea evaluation process ensures that each cup meets the highest standards.
Their dedication to innovation is the heart of their success story. The diverse product range they offer is a result of meticulous research and an unwavering passion for delivering the finest blends. Upholding a commitment to quality while remaining customer-friendly, they've carved a unique path in the industry.
Dedication to quality
Paras Desai, the executive director of Wagh Bakri, embodies the company's ethos. "Serving tea to consumers is a kind of passion for us. It is not a number-crunching game," he asserts. This passion drives them beyond financial metrics, transforming each cup of tea into a meaningful experience.
Pioneering moments of Wagh Bakri Tea
In the early 90s, a paradigm shift was brewing in the tea industry, and Wagh Bakri, always a step ahead, ventured into uncharted territory. Wagh Bakri imported state-of-the-art tea bag machines from Argentina. No one was ready to believe at that time that there was something like tea bags that could save time. It was believed that good tea is prepared by taking time.
Yet, little did they know that the tides of time were turning, and a revolution in tea brewing was on the horizon.
However, Wagh Bakri's journey wasn't just about embracing the future; it was about nurturing the roots of affordability and unwavering quality. Their product range, with an economically friendly price tag, stood as a testament to their commitment. Unlike competitors adapting to market dynamics, Wagh Bakri held firm. Prices remained unswayed by fluctuations, costs, tax reforms, or any other factors.
In a world where conglomerates and local players waged fierce battles for dominance, Wagh Bakri embarked on a unique path. Their strategy? A blend of research and localisation. A considerable chunk of their efforts was dedicated to understanding the taste of each region they entered. The brand realised that West and North India had a penchant for bold, robust flavours. Armed with this knowledge, they crafted blends that suited regional tastes. The Wagh Bakri team dived deep into the psyche of the consumers and their preferences.
Challenges and Obstacles
Tea isn’t just a comforting cup; it’s also a bustling market. Wagh Bakri faced giants like TGB and Hindustan Unilever, as well as fast-growing startups. While others hurry to expand, Wagh Bakri takes its time, avoiding the pitfalls of rapid growth. Competitors like Amar Tea and Girnar managed to grab market share in 2016 to reach 2% by widening their distribution.
In the fight for the top spot, Tata Global Beverages (TGB) and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) had similar shares between 2012 and 2016 – around 29% and 27%, respectively. But Wagh Bakri's share went up from 7.18% to an impressive 8.09%. The reason? Wagh Bakri did what it could do best, it played on its strength that is focusing on regional with bootstrapped, cash and strong distribution network.
As the business started succeeding, Wagh Bakri Tea brewed aromatic teas but have also stirred up incredible innovations that have left tea enthusiasts amazed. From waking up to the invigorating notes of Good Morning Tea to relishing the exotic richness of super-premium Wagh Bakri green tea, the journey has been nothing short of a delightful blend of flavours and ideas.
Expanding horizons of taste
Wagh Bakri Tea expanded the horizon of its taste with offerings like the zesty lemon and the thirst-quenching Iced Tea. But the innovation didn't stop at the cup. The brand embraced gourmet tea culture with offerings like tranquil berry tea, milk oolong tea, and the prized Tie Guan Yin and Matcha Tea. And for those seeking instant satisfaction, Wagh Bakri introduced convenient Wagh Bakri Instant Tea As the business started succeeding Wagh Bakri Tea has brewed some incredible innovations.
Introducing tea buddies
And that’s not all! Wagh Bakri also added items including on-the-go snacks like Bhakhri, chips and gorgeous tea ware such as vacuum insulation cups and suction cups.
Wagh Bakri Tea Lounges
With their ethos being the same, Wagh Bakri Tea has opened 15 tea lounges amidst the growing trends of tea cafes in India. These lounges stand as a testament to the brand's commitment to creating common meeting grounds for tea lovers. Parag Desai, a guiding light of the brand, explains, “The objective of tea lounges is to provide a common meeting ground to tea lovers and to further popularise tea as a preferred beverage.
Adapting to Changing Trends
In today’s world, trends evolve faster and with changing trends, Wagh Bakri Tea also changed. Once relying on traditional channels for marketing, Wagh Bakri transformed its marketing game from traditional avenues to a thriving digital presence, all while keeping the essence of a heartfelt tea experience intact. Wagh Bakri started building its online presence starting with its website. Gradually it started building its presence on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
Today Wagh Bakri has almost 17 thousand followers on Instagram. Wagh Bakri taps into the pulse of the digital world, crafting content that's not just relatable but downright captivating.
From celebrating the unsung heroes of fatherhood on Father's Day to igniting a wave of nostalgia with the heartwarming "GharWali Chai" campaign, Wagh Bakri is adopting the trends of its young target audience.
CSR by Wagh Bakri Tea
Beyond its renowned tea offerings, the commitment of Wagh Bakri tea company to society shines brightly. Spearheading CSR since before it was mandated, the company established the Wagh Bakri Foundation, touching lives across education, healthcare, women's empowerment and socio-economic development. From aiding government school nutrition with the Akshaya Patra Foundation to providing healthcare in rural areas via Sanjivani Health and Relief Committee, the company's positive impact is undeniable. Its support for menstrual health education through Utkarsh Trust and endorsement of sustainable energy via the Blind People's Association underline its unwavering dedication to making the world a better place.
Even when the world faced the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wagh Bakri tea company extended a helping hand and contributed to the PM CARES Fund and to the Gujarat Chief Minister Relief Fund.
Global Recognition and Awards
When your dedication resonates beyond borders, it's not just a win; it's a title that exudes national pride. Wagh Bakri Tea Group was given the title of "Pride of India Brands" by Exchange 4 Media, one of the top magazines for marketing. This accolade isn't just a recognition of a brand; it's a celebration of the rich heritage and cultural significance that Wagh Bakri Tea encapsulates.
Wagh Bakri Tea earned a place of honour in TRA's Brand Trust Report 2022. The survey, spanning 16 major cities in India, highlighted the brand's unwavering connection with its consumers. This wasn't just an award; it was an endorsement of the brand's reliability and unwavering commitment to quality.
In a feat that speaks volumes about their impact, Wagh Bakri Tea was mentioned in the 14th edition of Philip Kotler's iconic "Marketing Management" book. This recognition wasn’t just a feather in their cap; it's a testament to Wagh Bakri’s enduring commitment to quality and innovation.
Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge, a haven for tea enthusiasts, was bestowed with the coveted "Best Tea Lounge" award at the Times Food & NightLife Awards 2022.
The heartwarming journey of the Wagh Bakri tea company is a tale that knows no boundaries, as it has risen from humble beginnings to achieve global success. Through its relentless dedication, Wagh Bakri has masterfully blended tradition and innovation, bringing forth a delightful range of products like Wagh Bakri Assam tea and Wagh Bakri gourmet tea that has captured the hearts of tea lovers worldwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) When did Wagh Bakri Tea start?
Wagh Bakri Tea Company was started in 1919.
2) Who is the owner of Wagh Bakri Tea?
Narandas Desai founded the Wagh Bakri Tea company, today his great-grandson Piyush Desai is the director of the company.
3) What is the origin of Wagh Bakri Tea?
The origin of Wagh Bakri Tea dates back to 1892 when Narandas Desai set up his tea business with five hundred acres of tea estate in Durban, South Africa.
4) Does Wagh Bakri offer instant tea without added sugar?
Yes, Wagh Bakri offers instant tea in various flavours like Elaichi, lemon grass, ginger and masala and with no added sugar variant.
5) What teaware does Wagh Bakri offer?
We have a variety of teaware including the Infuser glass kettle, suction cup, vacuum flask and vacuum insulation cup.
6) What are the different chip flavours available?
We have an exciting assortment of chip flavours such as jackfruit chips, sweet potato chips and herbed taro chips.