India’s Domestic Consumption Grows 2%

NEW DEHLI, India

Thirsty India consumed 837 million kilos of tea last year – almost 80 percent of all the tea produced by that country.

The 2 percent increase over 2010 crimped exports and means the country must add 30 million kilos a year to its yield just to keep pace with domestic growth.

The country is seeing increase demand from population growth and from increased use per capita. The annual report of the Tea Board of India estimates per capita use at 80 grams, up from 73 in the past five years but well below the 1000 grams reported for Sri Lanka and Pakistan and a tenth of the nearly two kilos consumed by residents of Ireland, Turkey and Britain.

India blends its tea with spices and favors loose leaf. Residents there account for 22 percent of all the tea consumed in the world.

India, China, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Indonesia together produce 76 percent of global output and 80 percent of exports. Final calculations from the International Tea Committee will not be available until the end of this month but it looks as if the United States will again surpass the United Kingdom. UK imports for consumption, through December were 127,313 metric tons.

Global output was 4,162 million kgs in 2010, of which 42 percent was exported. Total consumption was estimated at 3,980 million kgs.

U.S. imports for consumption, through November 2011, were 118,035 metric tons. The U.S. imports about 9,000 tons monthly.

The Russian Federation (CIS) is the largest importer of tea at more than 200,000 metric tons. U.S. is likely to follow as second, then Britain and Pakistan at 114,199 metric tons through November.

Per capita consumption in the U.S. is about 400 grams. Canadians each drink about 480 grams per capita.

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