The Economist magazine has for a long time used the "Big Mac Index" to measure purchasing power parity between currencies.
In Thailand, we also have the so-called “Mama Index”, which had seemed to be an effective way to gauge economic wellbeing of lower-income earners – until recently. Since many “grassroot” workers depend on instant noodles for their daily meals, in the past when the economy was bad, Mama would be selling well, and vice versa. But the Mama indicator was challenged last year when Mama sales grew by merely 1.4 per cent, its lowest level in 42 years, while the economy was also not performing well.
Seeing its Mama instant noodles no longer recession-proof, Thai President Foods is now going downstream with a plan to open a noodle shop in a joint venture with Kairikiya, a ramen specialist from Kyoto. The company used the Saha Group Fair, which ended last weekend, to test consumers’ feedback. It erected a ramen restaurant near the front entrance of the Queen Sirkit Convention’s Plenary Hall. But don’t expect a Bt6 meal - the ramen is selling for Bt150 per bowl, excluding add-on items such as eggs and extra meat.
OCC eyes revenue hike
Thirada Amphanwong, chief executive of OCC, the cosmetics and clothing distributor, said retaining sales staff who want to stay with the company, love the company and love its products, is a key success factor of her company.
“We believe if we can build employees to have skills and engagement with the organisation, they will attract customers,” she said.
Right now, Covermark is the top revenue-generating brand for OCC, a listed-subsidiary of Thai consumer goods giant Saha Group, while its own brand KMA is also growing fast. The company will shortly introduce a new cosmetic brand from Japan.
“We have been approached by a Japanese brand. It’s a large company,” she said.
The new Japanese partner had approached OCC because they knew that Saha Group adheres to long-term relationship rather than short-term profits, she said.