Taste The Caribbean label

Mark Dalgety

Dalgety Teas

Mark Dalegty - Dalegty Teas

The distinctive colourful boxes of Dalgety Teas are instantly recognisable. Found on the shelves of most supermarkets and specialist food stores, Dalgety is probably one of the most successful Caribbean-owned businesses in Europe.

Established 14 years ago, the company has blazed a trail for Caribbean teas and natural products. It can now be found as far afield as China, Malta, Nigeria, USA and Canada. The company’s award-winning founder, Mark Dalgety, grew up in the Caribbean under the stewardship of an aunt, who drank herbal teas to counteract her ailments. She was the inspiration behind the business.

On a trip to London, Mark read that the UK tea industry was going through a transformation, and that more and more consumers were opting for the healthier option of drinking herbal teas. However he found that although the available tea had a good smell in the packet, once infused in water it lacked any zest or body. Having grown up with delicious, full-flavoured Caribbean teas, Mark knew the time was obviously right to introduce them to the UK.

The business started with just one cerassie bush. Mark recalled those early days: ‘I sat in my front room and, using a pair of scissors, cut it up into 16,000 One Once packets. I then put samples of the cerassie packets in my briefcase and walked around to retail shops selling them for 50 pence each, raising £8,000 over a six week period.”

That money was then used to develop a teabag version of the cerassie tea, which was actually the same tea his aunt used to counteract the diabetes and blood pressure problems, diagnosed when she was just 37 years old. He affectionately recalls his aunt: ‘52 years after she had been diagnosed with these conditions, my aunt died at the ripe age of 89, and I must say it would have taken more than a gun at her temple to convince her that the cerassie teas did not keep her ailments at bay.’

Dalgety Teas has moved on to other products, but still specialises in herbal teas. ‘We specialize in Caribbean blends of herbal teas because that is what we know best. We also felt it imperative to present flavours of the Caribbean to the world market.’

Mark’s highly focused and very determined approach has helped him overcome many obstacles to make the brand the recognised player it is today. But there is no resting on their laurels for the Dalgety team: ‘We are driven by technology, new product development, and the ability to move continually against the tide, penetrating and selling our teas to as diverse a market as China, and having our teas listed in the UK top supermarket chains like Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda.’

Tea of course is made from the tips of the tea bush, infused in hot water… so there was no way Mark would leave us without a hot tip! ‘The one ingredient everyone should have in their kitchen for Caribbean cooking is GINGER. They can use it as a tea as we have done or as a seasoning to add a zing to the food flavour.’

a: 3-4 New Lydenburg Commercial Estate
New Lydenburg St
t: 020 8293 9300

w: www.dalgety.net

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