New players in market for coconut milk

2018.06.18 09:46:47 | 2018.06.18 09:49:40

Mr Nat is keen on the overseas market. 이미지 확대

Mr Nat is keen on the overseas market.

Thailand`s coconut milk market has picked up, with newcomers racing to join a market valued at over 6 billion baht a year and growing in line with the local food industry.

The presence of new players could shake up the coconut milk market, which has long been dominated by two major brands: Chaokoh and Ampawa.

Real Thai is a new player with strong market potential, thanks to its 100-million-baht marketing plan aimed at building brand awareness.

Owned by Thaitan Foods International Co, Real Thai coconut milk has been on the shelves of supermarkets for years in more than 70 countries, including China, South Korea, Japan and Germany.

Voranun Thaveesangpanich, managing director of Thaitan Foods International, said the company appointed Thai Agri Foods to distribute and market Real Thai coconut milk in PET bottles starting last month after successfully marketing UHT coconut milk overseas over the past 15 years.

Demand for coconut milk in Thailand has been rising for the past few years because of several factors, she said.

More people cooking at home have boosted the purchase of cooking ingredients, including coconut milk. In addition, more food vendors have moved to using instant coconut milk from PET bottles or paper packaging instead of buying fresh-crushed coconut milk, the production of which has become rare.

Real Thai presented its brand at the recent Thaifex-World of Food Asia 2018, where several coconut milk brands were also present, many of them not yet marketed locally.

Ms Voranun said part of the marketing budget is being used to hire actress Ranee "Bella" Campen and actor Tanawat "Pope" Wattanaputi as brand ambassadors. The company expects to gain sales of 1 billion baht in the first year of operations.

In addition, the company plans to export its Real Thai coconut milk in PET bottles to overseas markets soon.

Meanwhile, Teetiphun Theppadungporn, international marketing and sales manager of Theppadungporn Coconut Co, the maker of Chaokoh coconut milk, said the brand will put more effort into expanding its products abroad, particularly in Asean.

"Chaokoh was introduced in Myanmar last year, and we saw an impressive response from local consumers," Mr Teetiphun said.

As market competition is fiercer, the company will maintain its competitiveness by doing more research to seek new market opportunities for both coconut milk and related coconut products.

Apart from coconut milk, the company has recently branched out into coconut-based snacks, including roasted coconut chips.

Another player, Asiatic Agro Industry Co, the maker of Ampawa coconut milk and Cocomax drink, views the market as wide open, especially for coconut drinks.

Managing director Nat Visuthikraisee said that demand for coconut drinks has been booming for 3-4 years, with growth of 15-20% in the first five months of this year -- outpacing carbonated drinks, which have negative growth, and orange juice drinks, whose market is saturated.

The trends reflect growing health-consciousness among consumers, pushing the value of coconut drinks to 1.2 billion baht this year.

With the continued growth of premium coconut drinks, Asiatic Agro Industry will spend about 50 million baht to expand production capacity for its Cocomax drink by 30% from the current 12,000 bottles per hour.

The upgrade will serve both exports and the domestic market. In addition to the expansion of Cocomax, the company will export Ampawa coconut milk to Malaysia and Singapore this year.

"We plan to expand coconut products with zero coconut waste as part of boosting our sales to 8 billion baht by 2020, up from 3.6 billion baht last year," Mr Nat said.

By Bangkok Post(Published: 18/06/2018)

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