Starbucks has announced its entry to India by signing a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tata Coffee Limited. The MoU will create avenues of collaboration between the two companies for sourcing and roasting high-quality green coffee beans in Tata Coffee's Coorg, India facility. In addition, Tata and Starbucks will jointly explore the development of Starbucks retail stores in associated retail outlets and hotels.
Commenting on the announcement, R K Krishnakumar, Chairman of Tata Coffee, said, “We welcome Starbucks entry into India because of both its unique experience with the store format and for its commitment to society, values that we share.”
“India is one of the most dynamic markets in the world with a diverse culture and tremendous potential,” said Howard Schultz, Chairman, President and CEO, Starbucks Coffee Company. “This MoU is the first step in our entry to India. We are focused on exploring local sourcing and roasting opportunities with the thousands of coffee farmers within the Tata ecosystem. We believe India can be an important source for coffee in the domestic market, as well as across the many regions globally where Starbucks has operations,” he added.
A press release on the announcement stated that in accordance with the MoU, the two companies will collaborate on the promotion of responsible agronomy practices, including training for local farmers, technicians and agronomists to improve their coffee-growing and milling skills. Building on Tata's demonstrated commitment to community development, the two companies also will explore social projects to positively impact communities in coffee growing regions where Tata operates.
It may be recalled that Starbucks had announced the change in its brand identity in the first week of January 2011.