By Nishel Fernando
The Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) is planning to carry out a promotional campaign globally on social media promoting Ceylon black tea as an immune booster to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
Accordingly, Phoenix Ogilvy, which has been working on Ceylon Tea global promotional campaign, has been tasked with designing a programme to promote Ceylon Tea on social media platforms.
The firm is likely to come up with campaign plans in two weeks time.
The Tea Research Institute (TRI) recently published a scientific paper under the theme, “Antiviral properties of tea: Black tea may become the unique brew of choice with no side effects to fight against coronavirus?” highlighting Ceylon black tea as an immune booster to fight the virus.
Speaking to Mirror Business, SLTB, Director (Promotions), Hasitha de Alwis revealed that the health benefits of Ceylon black tea are already being promoted by 62 overseas missions of the country on their communication platforms to gain a fair amount of publicity.
“As COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, drinking hot black tea without milk and sugar helps in enhancing the respiratory system of human beings. The TRI has also quoted several research studies in other countries as well in their research paper. The analytical laboratory of SLTB has also released some scientific documents,” he elaborated.
However, he stressed that Ceylon Black Tea is not a cure for the virus, but an immune booster.
Ceylon black tea contains two active ingredients, which are produced during the fermentation process and the ingredients have immune boosting properties.
In particular, de Alwis highlighted that a flavin, an antioxidant polyphenol that has scientifically proven biological qualities to enhance the immunity system, could help battle the virus.
Speaking about the proposed social media promotional campaign, he said that the campaign will have larger outreach given that a larger portion of global population is being forced to stay at home due to lockdowns across the world to slow the virus spread.
As Sri Lanka exports majority of its teas to non-Western countries, de Alwis pointed out that lockdowns so far have had little impact on Ceylon Tea consumption.
About 50 percent of tea in Western countries is consumed in out of home settings such as cafes and restaurants while the majority in the main Ceylon Tea buying markets such as Middle East and Northern Africa consume tea at home.
Further, the lockdown in India has paralysed the tea value chain in the country from plantations to export processing, which also could boost Ceylon Tea exports.
Once the plan for the promotional campaign is designed, it is expected to be presented to the SLTB board and Promotional Marketing Committee for the approval of necessary funds for its execution.