In a momentous advancement, the lengthened supply of Ceylon tea to Poland’s leading retail chains Biedronka (Ladybird) and Auchan. Sri Lanka’s tea exports to the Polish retail market would increase by the end of 2022. Biedronka has already sourced an aggregate of 109,699 kilos of Ceylon tea, valued at USD 754,641.12 from the new Sri Lankan export partner between February and July 2022.
This is a significant prospect for further expanding the Ceylon tea footprint in the Polish retail market, while advancing the appreciation for Sri Lanka’s premium tea among the tea-drinking Polish customers. In 2020, tea consists of 31.60 percent of Sri Lanka’s exports to Poland.
Biedronka sources its products from Polish suppliers. When sourcing items from foreign buyers, compliance with EU quality/standards, continuous delivery, and the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) profile, are crucial for Biedronka.
The new supplies of Ceylon tea, entirely produced in Sri Lanka, would be sold under Briedronka’s Lion logo branded private label, ‘Remsey.’ It is projected that the sale of Ceylon tea in this supermarket chain alone, would reach at least USD10 million by the end of 2022 and, increase to USD15 million in 2023. At present, the worth of its private label Ceylon tea, encompassing Earl Grey and black tea, is about USD4 million. With the entry of new Sri Lankan export partners, the Ceylon tea shelves in Biedronka and Auchan would be diversified with flavoured and iced tea, comprising regional varieties.
Biedronka, the largest retail chain regulates half of the Polish FMCG market
The sale of private label teas by the retail chains is projected to be about 50 percent of the over-all Polish tea market, and has fully-fledged given the reasonable costs, emerging market opportunities, and the elevated profit margins it produces. Biedronka alone, as the largest retail chain, regulates half of the Polish FMCG market, as the wellness and organic market categories continue to flourish, key retailers are increasing their private label premium tea brands to appeal to sustainable and wholesome lifestyles.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Warsaw, combining tea and tourism promotion activities, highlighted an assortment of premium Ceylon tea, charitably bequeathed by the Empire Teas Limited., Quest Ceylon Tea LLC and Mabroc Teas Ltd., at the November 2021 International Charity Bazaar in Warsaw, Poland. The Elpitiya Plantations PLC also united the Sri Lanka Embassy’s promotion events with tea and cinnamon gift packs. It was during the charity event that the Embassy flourished in associating with, LIVEE POLSKA Sp., the Krakow based FMCG company which is a regular supplier to Biedronka and Auchan, to pursue to expand the portfolio of Ceylon tea in the supermarket chains.
During their participation at the Anuga 2021 food trade fair, the Sri Lanka Mission set up B2B meetings for LIVEE POLSKA Sp. with the identified Sri Lankan tea firms in Cologne, Germany.
Ambassador Dhammika Kumari Semasinghe was invited to join LIVEE in the discussions and negotiations with Biedronka in 2021, to ensure the enhanced and direct supply of Ceylon tea.
LIVEE’s objective is to two-fold the export of Ceylon tea and other products to Poland by 2023 with the right product and sustained promotional activities.
Negotiations are already underway to source iced teas, dried fruits, canned pineapples, for the two retail chains, and golden and silver tips premium Ceylon teas, so on for luxury tea houses in Warsaw and Krakow.
The successful entry of Ceylon tea into the Polish retail market, is also a significant market diversification, since Sri Lanka’s export partners in the European region are Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and the UK. As the retail chains/markets are associated and allied across Europe. For instance, the value-added Ceylon teas and other items in Auchan Poland, would be offered in the Auchan stores within the EU and across stores in Hungary, Romania and Portugal. At present, the Central/Eastern European markets continue to remain agonizingly underutilised by Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka could be optimistic about its long-term growth forecasts for several export products by increasing its commercial engagement with Central/Eastern Europe through Poland, the largest emerging economy in the region with a population surpassing thirty-eight million.
The Polish tea market, projected to be valued at USD 630 million per annum, is expanding steadily. As the fourth largest tea market in the European region (next to Ireland, UK, and Russia), Poland’s yearly tea imports are about 31, 000 metric tons worth USD 120 million. Poland imports the bulk of its products from India and Kenya.
Biedronka, owned by the Jeronimo Martins Polska SA, has investments estimated over PLN 14 billion in Poland since 1995. The supermarket chain with 3,154 stores located in over 1,100 towns and cities across the country. Biedronka is the largest private employer in Poland employing about 70,000 workforce and sources its products from Polish suppliers.