Oishi selling 20m bottles of green tea a month

News

Slightly more than a year after launching its ready-to-drink green-tea products, the Oishi Group has mustered a leading market share.

And the group is now aiming for sales of some Bt3.5 billion in 2005.

Oishi president and CEO Tan Passakornatee said the company’s green-tea products have been a spectacular success, selling some 20 million bottles a month.

“Last year, our sales were about Bt2 billion. This year, we’re targeting Bt3.5 billion,” he said. On top of that, an average of about 600,000 customers visit the 86 Oishi restaurants nationwide every month.

An AC Nielsen survey of the domestic green-tea market showed Oishi’s market share at 39 per cent as of October, overtaking Unif’s 36 per cent. Sencha, owned by Ajinomoto, trailed a distant third, with a share of only 5 per cent.

Tan said Oishi’s factory in Pathum Thani’s Navanakorn Industrial Estate churns out 1.2 million bottles a day, the plant’s full capacity.

To ensure an adequate supply of polyethylene terephtalate (PET) bottles, Oishi has a direct link to a PET-bottle manufacturer with operations on the company’s manufacturing premises.

Oishi has invested Bt700 million in manufacturing.

With the growing popularity of ready-to-drink green tea, Oishi has begun exporting abroad, thus far to the US, South Korea, Laos, Burma, Indonesia and Japan.

“And we’re negotiating with China and Australia,” said Tan.

Oishi’s ready-to-drink green tea comes in three flavours: original, lemon and Japanese rice.

“We don’t need a lot of flavours,” Tan said. “We learned from the Japanese that if you have just enough to capture the market, that’s okay. Still, we’re considering adding a new one every year.”

As a marketing gimmick, Oishi is introducing a special green-tea “rose” flavour for St Valentine’s Day.

The company will produce 1 million 500ml bottles and another 1 million 250ml boxes of the special flavoured drink.

“We have the advantage of 600,000 customers visiting our restaurants every month. That’s how we can test our products and tell which flavours will go over,” Tan said.

Published on January 20, 2005

Sasithorn Ongdee

The Nation

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