Green tea in decline as tastes change
Uni-President (Thailand) Ltd plans to introduce two to three product lines, including instant noodles, to offset slumping sales of its green tea.
Tezen Yang, managing director of the local subsidiary of a Taiwanese health beverage manufacturer, said yesterday that the green-tea segment of the overall tea market will fall 10 per cent this year.
Overall green-tea sales will decline from Bt4.5 billion last year to Bt3.7 billion this, as the beverage loses the trendy appeal that started a few years ago.
Yang said green-tea consumers now are those who recognise its health benefits.
Other producers have also witnessed softening demand for green tea and have conducted serious marketing activities and promotions for other tea categories, namely black, oolong and milk tea.
The share of these three non-green tea categories in the overall tea market is estimated to increase from about 10 per cent last year to 20 per cent this year.
Uni-President has also launched one non-green tea - Barley black tea.
Its other brands are Unif green tea, Daily C fruit juice, i-Firm sport drink and A-HA ready-to-drink coffee.
Despite falling sales of its green tea, Uni-President recently revised upward its total expected sales this year to Bt1.4 billion, of which Bt400 million will come from exports.
The new prediction was based largely on the new products and the new Bt1.3 billion aseptic production line, which can churn out up to 600,000 cartons per month.
The new line ensures products can be made with less vitamin degradation and less flavour deviation.
The company still has two hot-fill production lines, one of which will be moved to its plant in China.
Uni-President's first-half market share shrank slightly, particularly for its green-tea product, which dropped from 25 per cent last year to 15 per cent, due to its focus on production improvements.
Now the company will concentrate on building brand awareness through marketing activities and advertisements.
It also aims to increase its green- tea market share to 30 per cent and its i-Firm from a current 5 to 7 per cent of the total Bt307 million market this year. Its marketing budget for all its brands this year is over Bt300 million.
Green tea is the company's most important product, followed by vegetable juices, sports drinks, fruit juices and black tea.
The company is negotiating with a well-known convenience store to allow it to test the market for its instant noodle bowls in the coming few months.