De Candia Named Ceylon Tea Ambassador

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Sri Lanka Tea Board last week named David De Candia its first ambassador of Ceylon Tea for USA and Canada.
De Candia conducting a tea workshop
De Candia is best known for his role as Senior Director of Tea at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Southern California. During the past 15 years he has greatly expanded tea offerings and profitability of tea at the global chain. The appointment signifies the importance of the North American market to Sri Lanka. His responsibilities as Honorary Ambassador include conducting tea board workshops targeting tea buyers, retail store category buyers and restaurant association executives. The focus of the promotion is black tea. In announcing the appointment, Tea Board Chairperson Janaki Kuruppu, praised De Candia’s passion for Ceylon tea and his “vast experience in the global tea industry.”
Janaki Kuruppu, Chair of the Sri Lanka Tea Board
Janaki Kuruppu, Chair of the Sri Lanka Tea Board
She cited the high consumption of black tea in the US and Canada and the fact that iced tea is one of the fastest growing categories in the US beverage market. “Hence the opportunities are high for Ceylon tea to succeed in increasing its market share with the correct approach,” she said. Sri Lanka producers witnessed a 23% increase in US imports from 2012 to 2013. North America is one of the top five tea importers with 126 million kilos in 2012. The country is the largest economy in the world and still the “undisputed trendsetter to the world on food and beverage sector, service sector and most other sectors,” she said. My photo David De CandiaDe Candia followed stating, “As the honorary tea ambassador for pure Ceylon tea in the United States and Canada, I am looking forward to educating both the tea industry and consumer alike about Pure Ceylon Teas.” “I am honored that the Sri Lankan Tea Board has selected me for this appointment, and I am excited about opening the many eyes in North America and Canada to the sustainability practices and overall handling of pure Ceylon teas in Sri Lanka.” He added, “I have traveled to Sri Lanka many times over the last 14 years and I have come to appreciate the people, passion and care they give to pure Ceylon tea. My goal is to express the passion, knowledge and quality to the North American as a whole.” The US market for tea has quadrupled in the past two decades and is projected to grow rapidly during the next five years. “Similarly, Canadian tea consumption is forecast to increase by 40% to $130 million by 2020. Black tea is the choice of 84% of American tea drinkers and 89% of Canadian consumption, she noted. Kuruppu told reporters during the tea board session that “the majority of tea supplied for these countries at present are relatively low quality, which opens up a niche for a high quality pure Ceylon tea to exploit with effective promotional campaign,” according to accounts in The Nation. “Sri Lanka Tea Board is focusing on positioning Ceylon tea, proposing its uniqueness in terms of quality aspects, health benefits and standards of manufacture.” Selecting tea ambassadors in target export markets is one of the initial steps in a strategic marketing plan financed by up to $50 million in fees levied on exports since Nov. 2012. The government recently released these funds which will finance national advertising, digital marketing and social media channels along with multi-faced PR activities targeting to capture a higher share of the North American market for pure Ceylon Tea. Source: Sri Lanka Tea Board, The Nation