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Singaporean firm eyes Thai coffee market

Jun 25. 2017
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By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
THE NATION

SINGAPORE-BASED food and beverage manufacturer Super Group is eyeing business potential in the premium instant coffee segment in Thailand despite the saturation of the overall instant coffee market.

SCML (Thailand) Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Super Group and producer of Super Coffee and Essenso MicroGround Coffee brands, plans to strengthen its foundation in Thailand by moving the manufacturing facility of Essenso MicroGround Coffee into the country, where it already has a plant for Super Coffee products in Chachoengsao province. 

Essenso MicroGround Coffee products are currently imported from Malaysia.

Nicholas Chan, regional brand manager of SCML (Thailand), said that the company has seen the potential of attracting and retaining consumers in Thailand’s instant coffee market through premium offerings and diversification of product range. 

“Consumers are maturing into a discerning group of customers that need to be offered choice and flexibility from what is the typical range that has been on offer for the past decade. This presents us with an opportunity to set the tone for the industry for the next 5-10 years, ensuring that the industry keeps up to date with changing consumer demands,” he said.

“A key factor that gives us confidence in the long-term sustainability and growth of this industry is the fact that ease and convenience will become more important as society develops. So, it is paramount that we continue to be in that space offering quality products that consistently meet the needs of tomorrow’s consumers,” added Chan. He said that innovation within the category is vital to reintroduce the product to a new wave of consumers as we constantly seek to move the instant coffee category closer to the quality of freshly brewed coffee.

Thailand’s overall coffee market is projected to see more than Bt36 billion in total value this year, up about 4 per cent over last year, of which Bt20 billion is the instant coffee segment and the rest is ready-to-drink coffee.

The instant coffee market is, however, seeing saturation with its annual growth rate declining from 10 per cent over the last decade to only 4 per cent today.

In 2017, Super Coffee and Essenso MicroGround Coffee set their targets at Bt4.2 billion and Bt200 million respectively. For Essenso, the sales target is up from Bt150 million last year as the brand has seen good potential in growing the premium instant coffee market in which Essenso is currently number two in the segment. The premium instant coffee is valued at Bt2 billion with three main players.

SCML (Thailand) has set aside Bt300 million as overall marketing budget this year, of which Bt120 million is for the Super Coffee brand and another Bt180 million for Essenso MicroGround Coffee. For Essenso, the budget is divided into Bt150 million for above-the-line and Bt30 million for below-the-line activities with full integrated marketing communication plan for online, offline, digital, roadshows, and events with an aim to provide 1 million free samplings this year.

Chan said that for SCML’s business and most FMCG businesses, accessibility to a product determines the regularity with which consumers continue to choose a brand so most definitely.

“We are looking to go deeper into penetrating the market and will go as far as to say that we aspire to be made available as a choice to consumers at every opportunity through an offering of a diverse range of products to cater to the different consumer segments across varying regions.

“Having said, we are working towards increasing our presence in all the different regions, especially from central upwards, through forging of sincere relationships with all stakeholders from the ground up. We intend to do so by going back to basics; ensuring that our foundations in the market is strong, and by that we mean that we need to ensure that we create the right levels of demand through localised marketing efforts within the regions, and also provide the right levels of supply and support so that our partners can operate with ease and confidence,” said Chan.

Essenso MicroGround Coffee products are currently imported from Malaysia, but the company also has plans to invest in moving production to Thailand, as it already has a production plant for Super Coffee.

“We are focussed on building our foundations within the Thailand market and our factory primarily serves that purpose so at this juncture, we are only concerned that our factory is optimised for production and do not have immediate plans to expand into new facilities. However, we have always been investing in upgrading our facility to be operationally efficient so that we can offer our consumers the best quality products at a just price,” said Chan.

The company recently unveiled two new Essenso brand ambassadors – Taew Natapohn Tameeruks and Alek Teeradetch Metawarayut – along with two new products, Essenso MicroGround Black Coffee Colombian Blend and Mandheling Blend. One box contains 20 sticks aiming to retail at Bt95. 

 

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