Agro Industry rolls out own coconut juice brand here

Corporate May 20, 2014 00:00

By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn
The Na

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CocoMax already well-known overseas; Bt700-million bottliing plant being built

After 20 years of original-equipment manufacturing (OEM) and export of canned coconut products, Asiatic Agro Industry Co this month launched its own-brand coconut juice in the domestic market.
“We will be the first player in the local market for 100-per-cent coconut juice in [plastic] bottles, namely CocoMax. About 2.5 million bottles of the ready-to-drink coconut juice will be sold domestically in the first 12 months,” managing director Nuttapon Visuthikraisee said yesterday.
The company is constructing a Bt700-million bottling plant in the same complex of its canning plant in Samut Songkhram’s Amphawa district. The new factory will start operating in November with an annual capacity of 50 million plastic bottles.
Nuttapon, 37, who is part of the second generation of the family, said Asiatic was one of the leading manufacturers of coconut products, including canned coconut juice and coconut milk, mainly for export.
“We have exported coconut products to 74 countries around the world, including to the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and the Middle East. About 80 per cent of our products have been supplied to customers under OEM contracts, while 20 per cent have been distributed under our own brand,” he said.
The company produced for nearly 100 different brands.
The company only started marketing canned coconut juice under its own Coco brand quite actively three or four years ago. The products have been exported to 15 markets around the world.
“Based on our enriched experience in OEM for canned coconut products, we have seen the market trends in various regions around the world. We have been asked to develop new kinds of products. Coconut juice has enjoyed growing popularity in overseas markets such as the US and Europe,” he said. 
Major beverage firms, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, have acquired coconut-juice manufacturers in South America as they want to promote sports drinks made from natural products.
“We have seen growing room in many foreign markets for the development of ready-to-drink coconut juice. We got the idea to create the new coconut juice brand from Thailand,” he said.
The company launched its coconut juice in plastic bottles two years ago. CocoMax has been shipped to 10 markets, including Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain and Australia. About 5 million bottles are expected to be sold in those markets this year.
“We just launched CocoMax coconut juice in [plastic] bottles in the Thai market at the beginning of this month,” he said.
 The product has been supplied by a local subcontract manufacturer. 
The company this month started distributing CocoMax at 1,090 FamilyMart convenience stores. The product will be also available at Tops Supermarkets, Jiffy’s and The Mall’s Home Fresh Marts and Gourmet Markets by the end of this month.
Asiatic Agro Industry expects Bt1.5 billion in sales this year, of which 20 per cent will come from its own brands.