J. T. Ronnefeldt
Issue Iss3 2011
Nice & ‘tea-sy’
As the demand for quality teas increases around the world, J. T. Ronnefeldt remains the producer of choice for luxury hotels and restaurants
The market for quality tea has most definitely changed in recent years,” explains Jan Berend Holzapfel, general manager and co-proprietor of Ronnefeldt. “In all the major and developing global regions, more and more people are drinking tea and we are being told by hotel managers and directors the world over that business clients are increasingly asking for tea with their breakfast instead of coffee as has been the norm in the past. The other major factor in the markets’ development has been the rise in the number of areas within hotels and restaurants where tea is served. Not only is tea now served with breakfast and after lunch and dinner, it can now be found in wellness and spa areas where this healthy lifestyle trend has helped further boost tea drinking.”
Founded in 1823 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Ronnefeldt has grown into an internationally known brand, renowned for the production of fine teas, manufactured by hand using only the highest quality tealeaves: “In 1999, Ronnefeldt began exporting its teas in response to the increased demand for its high-quality products from many of the major hotel chains. As an increasing number of customers staying in four and five-star hotels demand more of a choice when it comes to the flavour and style of the tea they drink, Ronnefeldt continues to break into new markets and geographic regions, with its teas being consumed today in more than 60 countries,” Jan continues.
For any business to be successful for the better part of 200 years is an achievement that is impossible to understate and, as Jan goes on to highlight, this accomplishment can be heavily attributed to both the quality of Ronnefeldt’s products and its commitment to innovation and change: “While a lot of companies within the food and beverage industries will talk about how they only produce top of the range goods, Ronnefeldt is a company that truly stands for quality. Not only does Ronnefeldt manufacture only orthodox, hand made teas, a trait that is extremely hard to find in such a large company these days, it also strives to come up with new ideas, concepts and products that make it as easy as possible for a hotel or restaurant owner to serve a really great cup of tea.
“Over the last several decades Ronnefeldt has been responsible for inventing the Tea-Caddy, the LeafCup and a number of other industry firsts that have gone on to be copied or adapted by others, providing the best possible proof that this is a company with a reputation for coming up with good ideas and successfully implementing them. Each and every one of these ideas is brought to market following a period of research and consultation with the company’s contacts within the hotel industry, ensuring that the hotel guest gets exactly what they need and desire from a Ronnefeldt product.”
In November 2010, the company initiated a series of re-launches of some of its most popular innovations including the Tea-Caddy. A large teabag containing real loose-leaf tea, this product has been perfectly designed for use in teapots. The re-launch of the Tea-Caddy involved the complete re-design of the product, right down to the filter paper of the bag, the labelling and the packaging: “The response to the new, modernised Tea-Caddy has been nothing short of fantastic,” Jan enthuses. “Such has been the level of demand for the new Tea-Caddy the company’s factory staff have been working overtime, even on Saturdays, just to meet the volume of orders. However, Ronnefeldt’s work hasn’t stopped there, in fact it has further complimented the Tea-Caddy range with the release of a new flavour to the line called Lemon Fresh.
“The Lemon Fresh flavour has also recently arrived in LeafCup form and is joined by the company’s new Moroccan Mint flavour. A very traditional blend of green gun powder tea from China and Nana mint from Morocco, this is a very popular drink in Middle Eastern countries and one that is now being made available in this convenient format for the first time.”
Updating its product portfolio is a hugely important and necessary activity undertaken by Ronnefeldt, one that provides the growing number of tea drinkers visiting hotels around the world with the level of choice they crave: “Tea consumption dates back well over 5000 years and during this time it has had a direct impact on cultures all over the world. Naturally people from different countries drink tea in different ways and enjoy different blends, so for Ronnefeldt it is essential that it approaches different markets armed with both the required level of consumer knowledge and the right products,” Jan says.
It is this knowledge and its many years of experience that today places Ronnefeldt in a much better position to handle the growing demand for quality tea than almost every other tea company in operation. In fact, the biggest challenge for the company is being able to meet the demand for high quality teas, something, Jan states,
Ronnefeldt has worked tirelessly to overcome: “Overall the supply-chain market for quality tea is small, yet the company has managed to forge strong, lasting relationships with the finest tea gardens in existence. By having multiple sources of tea the company can not only buy a wide range of flavours and blends,
it is also able to combat any unforeseen environmental difficulties, for example, if bad weather conditions affect one region it can adjust its purchasing levels from other tea gardens.
“This forward thinking approach is not new, but what you have to remember is that Ronnefeldt is not a newly established, start-up company, rather it is much older and much more well established than any other name in the market. As a business, the company is continuing to grow and develop handin- hand with the tea market and in the years to come it will remain a prominent participant in meeting the demand for quality tea from both those countries that are now starting to come on line and its existing customers,” Jan concludes.