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New Delhi: Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) will launch its Eight O’Clock Coffee in India as a direct-to-consumer brand next week. The move is aligned with the company’s plans to expand its e-commerce capabilities, N. Chandrasekaran, chairman, TCPL, said at the company’s 58th annual general meeting on Friday.

“To achieve the next level of growth by leveraging this expanded product portfolio, the company is now implementing and integrating its distribution network and supply chain to drive efficiency and, more importantly, agility. Undertaking an end-to-end digitalization of its channel partners, and field force is another key initiative… The company is focusing on bolstering its e-commerce capabilities, and a few products have been already launched in the direct-to-consumer model. The Eight O’Clock Coffee will be launched in the D2C model next week," he added.

Eight O’Clock is the fourth largest roast and ground coffee brand in the US, the company said. It sells ground coffee apart from single-serve pods used in coffee machines. Eight O’Clock Coffee Co. Ltd is an unlisted subsidiary of Tata Coffee Ltd.

TCPL, which sells a range of essential food and beverage products in India, such as tea, coffee, salt, pulses and ready-to-cook mixes, has been experimenting with more online-first brands as the pandemic altered consumers’ shopping behaviour.

Share of sales from e-commerce more than doubled, growing over 130% in the last fiscal year, said Sunil D’Souza, managing director and chief executive, TCPL.

Mint had reported that the company has been scaling up its direct ordering platform tatanutrikorner.com, which delivers a range of spices, pulses, ready-to-cook mix, tea and coffee, according to information available on its website.

TCPL is focusing on pushing more products through a strong distribution network, both offline and e-commerce, and leverage the Tata super app, Chandrasekaran said.

TCPL, formerly Tata Global Beverages Ltd, was formed after acquiring the branded food businesses from Tata Chemicals Ltd to consolidate its presence in the food and beverages market.

In 2020, TCPL had acquired PepsiCo’s stake in NourishCo Beverages Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies, to build a strong play in the packaged beverages market. Recently, it hived off its entire membership interest held in Empirical Group LLC, USA, and in Southern Tea, LLC, USA, a joint venture with Harris Tea Co. LLC on 31 March. It has also exited its branded coffee business in Australia. “These simplification initiatives are enabling the company and giving the management ample time to focus on what is core to the business," the firm said.

In India, TCPL reaches out to around 200 million households through 2.4 million retail outlets. In the past year, it has also expanded direct and total distribution. “While we rationalised our distributors, we added over 30% feet on street in the system and our direct outlet coverage has gone up by 30% and numeric distribution increased by 15%. We are focused on increasing our rural reach for which we now have 3x the number of territory sales officers," TCPL said. “More innovation will come, more acquisitions will come," Chandrasekaran said.

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