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Innovation among growth tools for Oishi

OISHI Group, a major Thai beverage manufacturer and operator of a Japanese restaurant chain, has revealed that its 2018 strategies will be underpinned by innovation, export expansion and what it calls premiumisation in a drive for strong and sustainable growth.

Nongnuch Buranasetkul, president and chief executive officer of Oishi Group, said that for fiscal 2018, Oishi Group will focus on maintaining its leadership in the Japanese-style food and drinks business.
Nongnuch said this would be achieved by four main strategies: customer-centric; innovation; digital transformation; and “continue to build and support brand.”
“The customer-centric strategy will see us focus on building the best experiences required by individual consumers; innovation with the development of outstanding and unique products, services, and marketing activities that create value for consumers; digital transformation by using various digital tools to drive the business and reach a wider variety of consumers; and continue to build and support brand through the development of a powerful and admired brand that results in trust gained from consumers,” Nongnuch said.
“Such strategies are in line with Oishi brand essences, aimed at the company being an innovation leader in the mass premium market for Japanese food and beverages that go beyond just functional benefit, but a Japanese exploring sensation. We will be uncompromising in offering Japanese quality and with mindful pleasure.”
Paisarn Aowsathaporn, executive vice president of food business, said that the overall restaurant market in Thailand was worth about Bt400 billion last year, with growth of between 2 and 4 per cent. Chain restaurants accounted for about Bt120 billion of this.
“The restaurant market is going towards three trends, which are healthy, growth of delivery service, and consumers having many more choices,” he said.
“For Oishi, we want to be the king of Japanese foods in Thailand, with a wide range of foods and services to serve every lifestyle and occasion.”
He said that the group has seen the strong potential of Japanese restaurants in Thailand, especially in the premium market segment.
“The move is to cash in on the trend of premiumisation as Thai consumers are more educated and are adjusting their lifestyle towards premium foods but with value for money,” Paisarn said .

Growth drivers 
“For this year, we will generate growth through four main strategies, which are store expansion, which focuses on continuous store expansion to reach target customers of all lifestyles; new brand concept, by launching new restaurant brands, improving brand image, and modernizing products-services and brands; new innovation, developing outstanding products and more advanced service systems to meet changing consumer needs and lifestyles; and sustainable quality, which emphasizes products and services quality by implementing the quality assurance systems of GMP - HACCP - ISO 9001:2015 standard at all branches of Oishi Group’s Japanese restaurants for delicious and quality food and drinks that meet safety food standards. Oishi is the first restaurant in Thailand and Asia with all branches awarded certification of quality assurance systems by SGS (Thailand) Limited, the world's leading inspection and certification company.”
Paisarn said that the group will invest about Bt400 million in the expansion of Oishi's new Japanese restaurants as well as renovate existing outlets. The group has operates 241 restaurants, and another 20 new restaurants will be added this year.
“We have already opened two Shabushi restaurants in Yangon in Myanmar. We also have seen potential to open our Shabushi restaurants in other CLMV markets, which comprise Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam,” he added.
Jesdakorn Ghosh, senior vice president of beverage business, said that Oishi green tea last year was able to maintain its leading position in the ready-to-drink tea market in Thailand last year, with 46 per cent market share, up from 43 per cent in fiscal 2016, according to a Nielsen report for January-September 2017. The group’s green tea also has 40 per cent market share in modern trade channels, and a 53 per cent share in traditional trade channels.
“Despite a 6 per cent drop in Thailand’s green tea market, we were able to grow the sales of our Oishi green tea products by 5 per cent last year. Meanwhile, the export of Oishi green tea increased by 53 per cent last year due to the regional market expansion from cross-border trade to penetration into the CLMV markets, especially Laos and Cambodia,” she said, adding that the group's export contribution for green tea products increased from 8 per cent in 2016 to about 12 per cent last |year.
“For 2018, we will focus on key strategies, which are: ‘Secure Thailand’, by growing our portfolio share through innovation and the launch of healthier products for the future; and ‘Larger Export Footprint’, by growing our exports of beverages, especially to the CLMV market,” said Jesdakorn.
She said the group would focus on business synergy with other affiliates, such as Thai Drink, Serm Suk, and Cash Van, "to drive the power of one”. 
“The international commercial team has been set up to drive exports and international networks. For existing export markets, the group will this year enhance distribution expansion in Cambodia, as well as seek to achieve double-digit growth in Laos,” she said.
Kotchakorn Attarangsan, vice president of food business development, said that the group will focus on the development of packaged food products to cash in on the market potential both in Thailand and abroad. Such expansion will help Oishi Group to utilise its processed food manufacturing plant in Ban Bueng district, Chon Buri.
“For the 2018 strategy, we will focus on new product development, which will be under premiumisation and flavour innovation, as well as the expansion of eating occasions,” she said.
Kotchakorn said that the group exports its packaged food products to three or four markets in Europe, including Germany, France and Ireland, and will this year expand its export markets to Britain, Austria, and Denmark. 
In Asean, the packaged food products are being exported to Myanmar and Cambodia and such sales will be expanded to Laos in the near future.

Published : January 17, 2018