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Coffee and Tea Reports
from the Front Lines

Timothy’s Acquires Grabbajabba
CALGARY, CANADA - Comac Food Group Inc. has sold its Grabbajabba coffee operations to Toronto-based Timothy’s Coffees of the World Inc. for $1.35 million, reports the Toronto Star.

Grabbajabba is a chain of 56 gourmet coffee stores, located mainly in Western Canada.

Timothy’s, a private Toronto company, operates 100 gourmet coffee stores throughout Ontario, Quebec and New York City.

The Comac Group says it sold the Grabbajabba chain because it believes the company can generate higher returns on its capital by expanding the Domino’s pizza business, in which it will reinvest the money it gains from the sale.

“Selling Grabbajabba is just the first step in the repositioning of Comac,” stated Comac chairman Brian Holt.

“It’s the beginning of the execution of a plan to take Domino’s from its position of the leading national delivery chain to the Number 1 pizza company in Canada.”

For Timothy’s, the purchase of Grabbajabba provides an immediate presence in Western Canada and solidifies its position as Canada’s third-largest specialty coffee retailer, behind industry leaders Starbucks and Second Cup.

“Today’s specialty coffee market has strong national competitors gaining market share throughout Canada...,” Comac president John Beauparlant said. “To successfully compete and build brand recognition, Grabbajabba required investment of additional capital and corporate resources to grow the concept.”

Is there Meat in Tea?
BHOPAL, INDIA - After recent speculation and doubt, consumers have been assured publicly that tea in India is completely vegetarian, states the Hindu. Representatives of the Indian tea business and the Tea Board of Government of India emphasize that the rules and legislation in place permit only 100% vegetarian tea.

The ongoing controversy involves concern that it is possible that meat is being added as flavor to the tea sold in the Indian tea market, because the use of all natural flavorings has been permitted by the central government.

Until 1995, only certain flavors were allowed to be mixed with tea: cardamom, ginger, bergamot, lemon, and cinnamon. All manufacturers of flavored tea must register with the Tea Board.

However, in October 1999, the Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare issued another announcement permitting the use of all natural flavors and flavoring substances.

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly had built pressure on this issue, and chief minister Digvijay Singh said on the floor of the House recently that there should be a new proclamation to completely end any possibility of animal flavors being added to tea. The tea issue also spilled over to the streets with some concerned groups loudly voicing their protest.

Singh said that no producer has ever applied for, let alone been granted permission to use any flavors in tea that is meat or meat-based. He assured everyone that the tea currently being sold is wholly natural and of plant origin.



Tea & Coffee - January/February 2001
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