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Dusit International brings South African healthy restaurant chain to Bangkok

Nov 06. 2019
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By THE NATION

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Dusit Foods, a subsidiary of Dusit International, has entered into a joint venture with South Africa’s Real Foods Group, to bring its popular healthy fast-casual restaurant concept, Kauai, to Southeast Asia, under the Thai brand name, Real Foods, launching the first store recently at Virgin Active Fitness Club 101 The Third Place in Bangkok.

Established 23 years ago, the Kauai brand serves 7.3 million healthy meals each year across its 164 stores in South Africa and the Netherlands.

The brand offers smoothies, salads, wraps and warm bowls, all made with a commitment to sustainable sourcing. 

Located at True Digital Park 101, the first Real Foods store at Virgin Active Fitness Club 101 The Third Place is easily accessible from Punnawithi and Udomsuk BTS (Skytrain) stations.

The Real Food stores in Thailand will retain the Kauai concept and store design, and also most of the menu. The menu features over 100 superfood ingredients, including free-range eggs, collagen, whey protein, spirulina, kale, broccoli and spinach, used to make a range of nutritious and delicious dishes and drinks with a focus on natural produce.

Roughly 30 per cent of the menu has been modified to meet Thai tastes, including the addition of new items such as a soba noodle salad, iced matcha smoothie, Thai red milk tea and iced coffee drinks.

Firm favourites like the Princess Wrap and the Strawberry Stinger, which have been on the menu since Kauai’s inception, will be available in Thai stores.

From left: Suphajee Suthumpun, Group CEO, Dusit International; Dean Kowarski, CEO, Real Foods S.A.; and Jate Sopitpongstorn, MD of Dusit Foods Co. Ltd.

The development of Real Foods in Thailand is in line with Dusit Food’s mission to invest in proven and profitable businesses, expand into high growth spaces, and respond to consumer trends while positively serving the community through the delivery of healthy, wholesome food products that reflect four key pillars of sustainable production – healthy, natural, organic, and locally sourced.

“Globally, there is a major shift taking place as consumers seek out healthier, natural food options which are both affordable and convenient”, said Jate Sopitpongstorn, Dusit Foods’ managing director. “With our extensive experience in food, resorts and hospitality, moving into standalone outlets was an obvious next step for Dusit. The Thai joint venture, Dusit Real Foods, will oversee the opening of several fast-casual restaurants in Thailand, with possible expansion into retail ranges."

Jate added that Real Foods will also benefit from access to top-tier hospitality and restaurant talent from Dusit’s hospitality education programme, ensuring Dusit’s renowned gracious service is part of the offering. 

Dean Kowarski, Real Foods Group chief executive and founder, said that the premium brand, which has become synonymous with natural food, has a strong appeal for those embracing healthier living on account of its emphasis on nutrition and responsible sourcing.

“At Real Foods we care about what you put in your body because we know that eating well is key for a good life. We are committed to making nutritious and delicious food and drinks with an emphasis on real, responsibly sourced natural produce,” he said. “This means, where possible, our food is free of GMO’s, low in refined sugar and avoids additives, preservatives, artificial colourants or flavourants. As an example, we only use free-range chicken and eggs, which shows our commitment to responsible sourcing.

“We make healthy eating delicious, easy and convenient and there is something for everyone on our menu and our stores offer a mix of both take-away and sit-down meals.”

The Real Foods store experience

Within the coming months, Real Foods will also supply its healthy meals and drinks to six other Virgin Active health clubs throughout the city, ensuring Bangkok residents have convenient, grab and go access to wholesome and healthy food. The brand also has plans for expanding its Thai store footprint into the retail space, and is actively seeking new retail locations. Dusit Real Foods owns the territory rights to Southeast Asia and Australia, and is currently exploring opportunities in these markets.

 

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