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Tata Coffee plans to launch new variants of Mr Bean

The Financial Express - February 23, 2005
Tata Coffee Ltd, one of the world's largest integrated coffee companies, is working on strengthening its umbrella brand Mr Bean, by introducing more coffee variants and retail formats under the brand. The company will soon launch two new roast and ground (R&G) variants of Mr Bean, a 100% pure R&G and a 80:20 (coffee-chicory) blend simultaneously in all South Indian markets. Currently, Mr Bean is available in 57:43 blend in all these markets. Speaking to FE, Tata Coffee managing director MH Ashraff said: "We are on the journey towards being a full fledged FMCG company, with Mr Bean as our flagship brand."

Tata Coffee has also embarked on a new retail initiative, 'Mr Bean Coffee Junction' which is into retailing of R&G coffee as per customer specifications. "Unlike any such retail formats, this will be a place for the customer to choose his/her blend and taste it too. The customer preferences would be stored in a database and the next time you step in, a cup of coffee from your favourite blend would be ready for you," Mr Ashraff said. It will also act as a coffee bar for a casual customer to relax over a cup of coffee.

Currently, one such outlet is launched in Chennai and five more are planned in the city in the next six months. "Once we establish this format through these company owned outlets, we would follow a franchisee model in expanding the format in other parts of Tamil Nadu and rest of the South," he added. This would also see the phasing out of Tata Coffee's earlier retail format 'Coorg Coffee Works' from the market. Currently, there are 33 Coorg Coffee Works outlets in the company stronghold South India.

The 'Jiffy' vending machine brand of the company would also be gradually changed into Mr Bean brand. The vending machine business is fast picking up with around 7000 machines in the market of which 80% is with institutions. "Vending machines, where we follow the 'bean to cup' concept is a major thrust area for Tata Coffee," Mr Ashraff said. The company which had a small presence in the instant coffee market through the 'Tata Kaapi' brand would reconsider entering the market with a Mr Bean brand, once the brand is well established in the current formats, Mr Ashraff said.