Consumer preference of the mix of purple and ordinary green tea in Kenya
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Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. Processed tea is manufactured from young tender leaves of tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Black tea has mainly been processed from green coloured leaf tea cultivars. The Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) released a purple (anthocyanin pigmented) tea variety, TRFK 306/1, in 2011. During the processing, the purple tea leaf is mixed with the ordinary green tea leaf resulting in a new product. The study aimed at assessing the consumers’ preference of the new tea product manufactured from a mixture of both green and purple tea leaves as compared to tea manufactured from purple leaf and green leaf separately. The study employed both descriptive survey and experimental research designs. Tea tasters were used to rank i) tea from green leaf, ii) tea from purple tea and iii) tea from the mix of purple and green leafs. Tea consumers were also asked to rank the three varieties of tea. The target population comprised of 30 respondents drawn from Kangaita Tea Factory region within Kirinyaga County. Tea tasters were drawn from factories in Kirinyaga County. Simple random sampling was employed for both tea tasters and consumers. Data was collected using questionnaires and analyzed using the Spearman Rank coefficient of correlation. The study found out that consumers would prefer the tea mix of purple and green. The study recommends extensive marketing and value addition strategies such as packaging, branding and blending in order to create awareness to potential consumers and maximizem returns to the smallholder tea farmers. In addition, the study recommends that further research be done in order to outline health benefits of this tea product.