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Europe push for coconut milk

May 18. 2018
Teetiphun Theppadungporn, international marketing and sales manager, Theppadungporn Coconut Co Ltd
Teetiphun Theppadungporn, international marketing and sales manager, Theppadungporn Coconut Co Ltd
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THEPPADUNGPORN Coconut Co Ltd, a leading manufacturer and exporter of coconut milk and coconut products under the Chaokoh brand, is deepening a push with sister brand Mae Ploy into European market with the help of offline and online marketing channels.

Alongside that effort, the company says it will also keep up its growth pace in the domestic market as well as other export markets. Theppadungporn Coconut exports its products to 45 countries.

Apisak Theppadungporn, managing director of Theppadungporn Coconut, said that the company’s brand is still not strong enough in Europe and its market share is not yet high. 

“Our sales in comparison to the market consumption are still not high, so there is the potential to grow and capture more market share in Europe,” said Apisak.

He said that about 80 per cent of the company’s annual revenue is from exports. The European market alone contributes around 13-15 per cent of the export volumes. 

“In the next five years, we expect the contribution from the European market to be at between 15 per cent and 20 per cent. The figure is not that much different from today because we want to grow more in every other region,” said Apisak, adding that in 2022, the company aims to achieve Bt10 billion in total sales revenue, with between 5 per cent and 10 per cent growth per year. The company posted Bt7 billion in total sales revenue, including exports, last year.

Apisak said the company is confident that the revenues from export markets this year will grow more than 10 per cent. It plans to introduce new products at the THAIFEX – World of Food Asia 2018 event, to be held from May 29 to June 2 at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

Teetiphun Theppadungporn, international marketing and sales manager, said that the three best-selling products of the company are coconut milk, coconut water and dipping sauce for chicken. The company has continuously marketed these three products overseas, with the United States being the major market. Other export destinations, such as Europe, Asia and Oceania, also saw higher growth driven by increasing demand.

The major export markets are the United States and Canada (55 per cent); Europe (13 per cent); Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand and Pacific islands (16 per cent); and Asia and other regions (15 per cent). In the overseas markets, canned coconut products remains the most popular, while the coconut milk UHT product enjoys popularity among Thai consumers.

“Starting from last year, the company has introduced its products in the AEC markets, with Myanmar the first market that the company entered in the bloc,” Teetiphun said.

“It has expanded through a local distributor and gained a very impressive response from Myanmar consumers. Considering the size of the Myanmar market, the company expects higher growth in the near future.”

For the domestic market and the marketing strategy for the Chaokoh and Mae Ploy brands, Theppadungporn Coconut will stick with offline channels for about 70 per cent of the total marketing activities. The rest of the activities will be routed online, in particular on social media aimed at the local and international markets.

The company will pay more attention to the online and social media channels for the promotion its coconut products, Teetiphun said. In 2017, the company did more work in online marketing and trading in order to reach out more to young consumers.

Despite fierce competition from other players and newcomers, the Chaokoh and Mae Ploy brands remains the market leader because of high product quality and customer loyalty programmes, Teetiphun said. The company has invested about y Bt50 million to expand the production capacity, improve the effectiveness of machinery and increase warehouse space to better serve export markets.

“We are the leading exporter of coconut milk in the world market and our focus remains with the coconut products. Though we have been a leading player for 42 years, we cannot stop developing high quality products if we want to maintain our leading position,” said Apisak, adding that the company’s business growth in the first quarter of this year mainly came from exports.

Apisak said that the company’s market expansion strategy “concentrates on manufacturing products that truly serve the consumers’ demands”. It does market research in each country in order to gain insights into consumer preferences and use that information for product development. 

“We keep doing market research and analysis so that we can see the opportunities to enter into new markets globally,” said Apisak.

“For a while, the company has marketed the ready-to-drink coconut water, for which we have experienced a great market response, particularly from foreign consumers. This year, we will continue to satisfy our consumers by creating new flavours of ready-to-drink coconut water, which are black sesame, purple sweet potato and melon. We hope the new tastes will provide more varieties in choice for our customers.”

 He added that each year, the company has set aside funds to improve its machinery and all the facilities in the factory for better efficiency and effectiveness in production and distribution.

For the snack food segment, he said, Theppadungporn Coconut has entered into this market since last year by introducing Chaokoh healthy roasted coconut chips with three flavours; original, sour cream and bacon cheese. 

“It has also enjoyed a good response from the market as the product fits with the trendy lifestyles of young consumers who are concern more with health-conscious eating habits. This year, the company plans to launch a new flavour, Sri Racha chilli sauce,” he said

“We study consumers' lifestyle and develop product based on their preference. Coconut milk is still our hero product because it’s the main ingredient for many cuisines.”



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