Coconut milk company aims to ride the worldwide trend towards healthy foods

Corporate November 07, 2015 01:00

By THE NATION

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Theppadungporn Coconut Co, a producer and exporter of processed agricultural products, has reinforced its long-term vision of supplying |Thai food ingredients to the world market and to adapt to global |food trends. The Nation's Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn tal



COULD YOU PLEASE PROVIDE AN OVERVIEW ON THE CURRENT EXPORT SITUATION OF THEPPADUNGPORN COCONUT CO AS WELL AS YOUR MARKET-EXPANSION STRATEGY FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL OF YOUR COCONUT MILK AND RELATED PRODUCTS EXPANDING INTO OVERSEAS MARKETS, ESPECIALLY ASEAN AND BEYOND?

Theppadungporn Coconut Company Limited is currently the world’s biggest exporter of coconut-milk products, manufacturing more than 200 product items ranging from coconut milk to coconut water, virgin coconut oil, coconut gel and coconut chips, curry paste, sweet chilli sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, etc.

The ratio of its exports to domestic sales is 80:20, and the foreign markets include 36 countries worldwide. Major markets are the US and Canada (55 per cent), Australia, New Zealand and proximate islands (16 per cent), Asia-Pacific countries including China and Japan (15 per cent), and European countries (13 per cent).

We foresee a huge leap in consumption of coconut milk, coconut products and healthy foods worldwide. With a plan to expand more into the global market, Theppadungporn Coconut plans to grow together with our partners and to foster long-term relationships with them.

 We are making preparations with a focus on target groups of our major partners in each zone, of which the US is the major market.

It is certain that coconut milk is our best-selling product in all the countries, and the second-best-selling is coconut water, which also|has remained popular in the market so far. Our coconut water is so popular among American consumers and the sales so high that we have to come up with a more concrete plan to enter this market in the near future. In Canada and Australia, like the US, our Chaokoh coconut milk has been growing fast in popularity |too. In addition, traders in |many East Asian countries have shown interest in our coconut milk and canned fruits and vegetables products as well; these products can be used in [preparing] their niche foods and they cannot produce them on their own.

DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS VISION|FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, AND WHAT IS YOUR AMBITION FOR THEPPADUNGPORN WITHIN THAT PERIOD IN TERMS OF SALES AND REVENUE CONTRIBUTION FROM EXPORT MARKETS? WHAT WILL BE THE NEXT PRIORITY MARKETS YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

As we have taken part in the Thai-food-ingredient and coconut-milk markets for more than 40 years, we are now experienced and have a clear vision of global food trends. We try to supply Thai-food ingredients globally.

Overall, Chaokoh coconut milk has remained a key exported |product that has been trusted |by traders from all over the world. Apart from the product’s taste |and quality, it is the growing| healthy trend that contributes to our popularity, a trend that makes people more concerned about their health and turn to more healthy food.

The market demand for coconut water and virgin coconut oil has risen as well. In contrast to the popular belief that coconut oil is bad for health, recent studies have pointed to the fact that it more healthy than any other kind of oil.

Apart from coconut products, we also produce Thai-food ingredients such as curry paste, sweet chilli sauce, chilli in oil etc. We try to align with our country’s positioning as the “kitchen of the world”, which leads to greater consumer trust in our products.

DO YOU HAVE ANY BUSINESS OR PRODUCT DIVERSIFICATION PLAN FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? WHAT WILL BE THE NEW DIVERSIFIED BUSINESSES AND PRODUCTS YOU WILL FOCUS ON?

Our major products under the Chaokoh and Mae Ploy brands always produce more sales every time they are introduced at any trade fair around the world.

The best-selling products include coconut milk, sweet chilli sauce, coconut water, red curry paste, virgin coconut oil and roasted coconut chips, in that order.

Regarding market expansion, the company plans to increase market share in high-potential markets |such as in the coconut-oil and coconut-chips segment of the US, in the coconut-water segment for Canada and Australia, and the coconut-oil segment in Japan. Moreover, the company’s market expansion focusing on health-related products has been a huge success, gaining a large number of new customers.

DO YOU HAVE AN INVESTMENT |PLAN FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? HOW MUCH

IS THE INVESTMENT BUDGET FOR

EXPANSION AND NEW FACILITIES IN THAILAND OR ABROAD? DO YOU HAVE

ANY INTEREST IN EXPANDING YOUR

MANUFACTURING FACILITIES TO

SUCH NEW MARKETS AS CAMBODIA,

LAOS, MYANMAR AND VIETNAM

(CLMV)?

Early this year we set an investment plan of Bt300 million to increase our production capacity by 20 per cent for the Chaokoh brand in the segments of coconut milk, coconut drink, virgin coconut oil and coconut chips. The investment includes Bt100 million for new equipment to support the Chaokoh and Mae Ploy plants and Bt200 million for a new environmentally friendly waste-management system on their surroundings.

After the installation of the new equipment is complete, the annual maximum production capacity will be 120,000 tonnes, while the set capacity will be 80,000 tonnes.

Chaokoh and Mae Ploy products will represent 97 per cent of |production, and YodDoi and other| products 3 per cent. Choakoh’s |main products are ready-made coconut milk, coconut water and processed vegetables and fruits.

Mae Ploy’s production lines will increase their maximum capacity by 20,000 tonnes per year for its main products, which are sweet chilli sauce, curry paste and chilli paste in oil. For now, we have no plans to invest in manufacturing facilities in such new markets as CLMV.

OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, HOW MUCH SALES REVENUE WILL YOU ACHIEVE, AND WILL THE RATIO OF REVENUE CONTRIBUTION BETWEEN THE DOMESTIC MARKET IN THAILAND AND EXPORT CHANGE SIGNIFICANTLY?

We have found that we are now No 1 in foreign markets, with a |market share of 30 per cent of |the entire worldwide consumption of coconut milk that is worth around Bt7.5 billion, and we hold 70 per cent of the domestic market.

We will be trying to keep this leading position and maintain the sales ratio in order to be the No 1 coconut-milk producer both in the international and the domestic |market.