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Rooibos Ltd. Wins Battle: “Rooibos” Name

After 10 years and nearly $1million in legal fees, Rooibos Ltd. has reached a settlement agreement with Burke-Watkins and Forever Young (Pty) Limited over the rights to the use of the generic term “rooibos.” Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the latter two parties have voluntarily and unconditionally agreed to cancellation of their registration of the word ‘rooibos’ in the USA and various other countries in the world.

Rooibos Ltd, a producer and marketer of rooibos and its managing director, Martin Bergh, stated the company pursued and won this case on behalf of the rooibos industry as a whole. “The livelihood of all rooibos farmers was being threatened by this destructive name registration issue and we had to do something about it,” said Bergh, whose family has farmed rooibos for generations. “We needed to provide the farmers predictable, unhampered markets, such as the U.S., for the distribution of their quality rooibos teas. We are thrilled after all these years and thousands of dollars to help these growers, as well as all U.S. tea manufacturers, retailers and food service venues to openly and honestly share our national treasure, rooibos.”

In 1994, Forever Young (Pty) Limited, registered the name “rooibos” in the U.S. and numerous other countries. In 2001, Forever Young assigned the registration of “rooibos” to Virginia Burke-Watkins of Dallas, Texas. By restricting the use of the name “rooibos” to only those companies prepared to enter into a business relationship with Burke-Watkins, great hardship was caused not only to many independent U.S. tea manufacturers and U.S. retailers, but all the way down the supply chain to the growers in the small villages of South Africa who depend on the sales of their harvests to support their families. Many companies, who used rooibos individually or in formulations, had to create alternative names such as Red Tea and Red Bush, leading to great confusion in the minds of tea drinkers.

This caffeine-free, herbal tea, is grown exclusively in the Cedarberg area of South Africa and has been consumed as a tea in South Africa for well over 100 years and marketed internationally for much of that that period.

“Rooibos sales in the U.S., in spite of the registered name obstacle, have quadrupled every year since 1999,” says Hugh Lamond, president of California-based, Herbal Teas International. “The settlement of this issue will be welcomed by all parties associated with Rooibos in the USA,“ said Lamond, an importer of Rooibos into North America.

For more information, visit these web sites at www.rooibosdirect.com or www.rooibosltd.co.za


Dilworth Coffee Chain To Offer Biometric Payments

Dilworth Coffeehouse coffee drinkers can now claim to have the fastest, most secure and convenient consumer payment option in the country. BioPay, a leader in biometric transaction processing, stated, “Dilworth Coffeehouse has installed its “buy with your finger” technology. With merchant pricing that starts at a nickel per transaction, BioPay’s offering is significantly less expensive than Visa’s typical 2% fee, and competes effectively with the cost of processing a cash transaction. “

“Our customers think BioPay is intriguing, fast and more secure than other forms of payment. Now the quality of our payments technology equals the quality of our environment where you can get a great cup of coffee with free internet access,” says Sandy May of Dilworth Coffeehouse. “With BioPay payments, consumer convenience is up and retailer costs are down.”

The BioPay system uses a person’s unique finger image and their chosen BioPay number (usually a phone number) to authorize a secured debit direct from their checking account. The one-time enrollment can be completed at any merchant that offers the biometric payment service and the entire process takes less than two minutes. Once enrolled, the customer can pay in only five seconds with their finger at any BioPay payment location across the USA. The BioPay service is free to the consumer.

Many retailers across the country are choosing BioPay to give their check-writing and credit/debit customers greater convenience when making a purchase. As a result, retailers are experiencing a dramatic reduction in payment processing costs.

Tim Robinson, president of BioPay agrees, “Our goal is to provide the convenience of a secure, wallet-less world where a person going out for a walk can easily stop by and have a coffee without having to carry a wallet or purse. We also believe that retailers pay too much in credit and debit card fees and BioPay solves that problem.” For more information, see: www.biopay.com.


Typhoo Tea Up for Sale

Premier Foods has put Typhoo tea up for sale. Typhoo is the third-biggest company in the highly competitive U.K. tea market. Typhoo’s bigger rivals are owned by large corporate parents - PG Tips by Unilever and Tetley by Tata group.

Premier is reported to have appointed Icelandic investment bank Islandsbanki to handle the sale of Typhoo following interest from potential buyers.

John Sumner, a Birmingham grocer launched the brand in 1903, after his sister declared tea cured her indigestion. Her enthusiasm encouraged her brother to develop his own blend.

It was the first tea to be sold prepackaged and was sold in chemist’s as well as grocer’s shops, because of its perceived healthy qualities. Its first label read: “Typhoo, the tea the doctors recommend”.

During World War I, Typhoo was exempted from tea rationing after doctors and consumers overwhelmed the government with complaints.

Typhoo merged with Schweppes in 1968 and in 1969 became part of Cadbury Schweppes. In 1986 Typhoo was sold in a management buyout which formed Premier Brands, becoming Premier Foods, its present owner.



Tea & Coffee - August/September, 2005
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