Greg Harvey is Channel Controller at Taylors of Harrogate, which recently became the only major standard black tea brand to offer the same strength across all its products by moving away from One Cup. Greg spoke to Wholesale Manager.
How long have you been in your job?
I’ve been in it for six months. I’ve worked at Taylors for eight years in various roles. Before this I was National Account Manager, working with some of our biggest customers, including Tesco.
What does your job involve as Channel Controller?
I manage a diverse range of channels – wholesale, independent retail, out of home and the high-street value sector. I love working with professionals who are passionate about what they do.
How would you sum up the Taylors of Harrogate brand’s history?
Our family business was founded in 1886 in Harrogate, Yorkshire. We’re still family owned, and stay true to our love of fairness, flavour and quality.
What are the current consumer trends in speciality tea and coffee and how are you addressing them in NPD?
More people are drinking good quality coffees and teas at home, so expect just as good, if not better, hot beverages out of home. This led to one of our biggest developments last year for Yorkshire Tea: we said ‘goodbye’ to One Cup and ‘hello’ to a proper brew by increasing these products’ tea bag weight to match our retail offering. Yorkshire Tea is now the only major standard black tea brand offering the same strength across all our products, in and out of home – an industry first. Outlets can be confident their customers get a proper, consistent brew every time.
As for better coffee out of home, particularly in hotels, we’ve been pleased to launch coffee bags – a product which has already been a huge success in retail. They combine real, flavourful coffee with the convenience of a bag and have proved very popular with shoppers looking for an easy way to enjoy a proper coffee, as well as adding value for retailers. In 2019, we’ll be expanding our range of coffee bags to include new formats, so watch this space!
What are your core products? What are your newest innovations?
Our Yorkshire Tea 40s & 80s are our most popular products and we are now also the UK’s number one decaf tea brand! Decaf continues to drive tea category growth, with Yorkshire Tea playing a huge part by offering a proper brew for those who won’t compromise on taste when cutting down on caffeine. In line with this trend, we decided to launch a Yorkshire Tea Decaf PMP of 40 tea bags exclusively for the wholesale and convenience sectors, the perfect size and price for a top-up shop and excellent value for consumers.
New and innovative flavours are one of the main trends behind growth in out of home tea sales. We recently introduced six new flavours from the Taylors of Harrogate Classics range, Pure Green Tea, Green Tea with Mint, White Tea, Ceylon Tea, Apple & Cinnamon and Classic Chai, in boxes of 20.
In coffee, we are the UK’s best-selling filter cafetière coffee brand. Our Rich Italian 227g coffee continues to be a best seller as consumers add better quality ground coffees to their shop.
What marketing support are you giving your out of home products?
We have been imaginative with our recent marketing support. We teamed up with the Star Inn The City restaurant in York to launch an exciting Yorkshire Tea-themed festive pop-up over the recent Christmas period. The out of home team worked with the restaurant to transform it into the Yorkshire Teapee, a winter wonderland complete with cosy décor and a bar serving a host of drinks, including tasty tea cocktails!
How are you helping your wholesale customers grow their business?
We are committed to providing good quality proper tea that customers want, and investing in our brand through our product offerings. On top of this, we have continued supporting the sector with TV campaigns to help drive consumers to store. Our popular Where Everything’s Done Proper campaign has been extremely successful and was back on air in December.
How can wholesalers maximise sales of your products?
We will be working with wholesalers to ensure they have the right trade plans so they can maximise sales by leveraging our brand equity. We will support them to add value into the category by reinforcing reasons to invest in a proper brew and drive sales through other means than simply price.
And finally, what are your wholesale channel plans for 2019? Is more NPD in the pipeline?
This year, we will be investing in digital communications as the pace and convenience expected by wholesale customers increases. We also aim to work collaboratively with wholesalers through sharing knowledge, to ensure our new product developments move the sector forward.