By THE NATION
The partnership between the world’s largest food maker and a leading soccer club was recently announced globally. It is the first time Nestle has teamed up with a major soccer club. Under the contract, Nestle has become the official sponsor of FC Barcelona (popularly known as Barca) in the Tonic Food Drink category.
Chaiyong Sakulborrirug, business director for dairy and adult nutrition at Nestle (Thai), said the company believed that through sport, children would gain the necessary tools for an active lifestyle.
“We plan to spend at least Bt100 million to launch sport marketing campaigns and activities to stimulate the consumption of tonic drinks over the next four years,” he said.
He added that 2016 “was a challenging year because the overall tonic-drink [market] declined slightly as it was not [very] active. We believe that the competition in Thailand’s tonic-drink market will be fiercer because we no longer compete with [only] direct rivals but also indirect players.”
He added that as customers have various choices of beverage products, the partnership with FC Barcelona would make a difference to the lives of millions of children in Thailand and across the world.
A series of sport programmes and activities in Thailand are being developed under the Milo promotional campaign and are expected to kick off in the third quarter of this year. Children aged seven to 12 will have opportunities to receive professional training from the world’s best soccer coaches, as some kids are sent to train at Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona.
Currently, Thailand’s tonic-drink market is estimated to be worth between Bt7 billion and Bt8 billion, but the market has been flat for the past few years. The penetration of tonic drinks in Thai households is about 70 per cent. Consumption of tonic drinks here is 25 cups per year per person, compared with 200 cups in Malaysia. “There is huge potential to grow our tonic drink in the future. And with the partnership with FC Barcelona, we hope sales of Milo over the next four years will grow at double the rate of the country’s GDP, narrowing the gap in market share between Milo and our competitors,” Chaiyong said.
Milo is No 2 in Thailand’s tonic-drink market, controlling more than 30 per cent of the market.