French tea producer Les Jardins De Gaia (Gaia Gardens) is seeing a definite rise in demand for and sales of organic premium leaf teas and now supplies one of the widest range of organic and fair trade teas in Europe.
And according to Les Jardins De Gaia export manager Aurelie Servol, this is a reward of a long-term commitment for organic and fair trade teas: we sold our first organic tea in 1995 and it was not a business decision but really because we are convinced that organic and fair trade are the future.
“People are looking for this diversity and original flavors but they also like our colorful packaging. Further to that, we flavor and pack the teas in Alsace in France and our customers do appreciate our handmade teas,” Ms Servol says.
Export sales have grown 400% since 2011 and now make up 7% of the company’s total sales.
Reasons for the popularity of the company’s teas may include food scandals published in the media, while people are more and more aware that the food in supermarkets is not healthy and can even be dangerous.
“That is why people are looking for locally grown vegetables: they want to know where and how the products they eat are produced. In the same way, resorting to organic products is the safest way: the products are certified and they know that drinking an organic tea doesn’t imply swallowing high levels of pesticide,” Ms Servol says.
“It is now generally known that green tea has many health benefits and that definitely supports green tea consumption.”
Les Jardins De Gaia tries to be as transparent as possible on the origins of the teas and this is also a growing demand from the end-consumer.
Ms Servol says that is why they buy fair trade products but also small farmers products. This is also a trend we see with communities: they are starting to get organized to buy fair trade products.
A new export market that started in 2013 was a great partnership with a coffee roaster in Canada that shares our values: organic products, fair certified from small farmers, she says.
“We are very proud that they now offer Jardins de Gaïa teas in Eastern Canada. We are also starting in Asia and are happy to be able to serve very demanding customers. However, we have been selling throughout Europe for about three years now and find good growth in closer European markets, with a lot of enthusiasm especially in Northern Europe,” she adds.
As people drink a lot of tea in Winter, the Christmas line really sells very well, such as flavoured black tea, green tea or rooibos with spices.
This year, launched were a line of eight teas to support financially three different associations (NGOs) dedicated to the environment protection.
“As an example: one green tea flavoured with elderberry and pear for Birdlife France (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux). For each product sold, we give one euro to this association to fund a project to protect one bird species that nests in Alsace, here our headquarters are located,” Ms Servol says.
She explains that this is not only about financial support for the association but the packaging gives information on the association and on this bird species and generally makes people aware of the fragility of our environment. This new line is really appreciated in organic shops in France.