Suntory oolong tea hits store shelves

Suntory, a leading Japanese beverage company, has entered Thailand's ready-to-drink tea market with the launch of Tea Plus oolong tea.

Suntory joined forces with Tipco, a Thai fruit juice maker, to introduce the drink. More than 250 million baht will go to marketing and establishing the brand as the No.1 oolong tea.

The product is made and distributed by Tipco F&B Co.

Tipco managing director Ekaphol Pongstabhon said Thai ready-to-drink tea is a large and highly competitive market that constantly attracts more entrepreneurs.

With consumers becoming more health-aware, tea has grown increasingly popular.

Teenagers and working adults are the main customers for tea. Their number is increasing and so is the frequency of their tea drinking. Tea has attracted more consumers each year because many first-time tea drinkers become regular buyers.

"All tea producers thus are actively using marketing activities, price discounts and various promotions to attract consumers," said Mr Ekaphol.

"When coupled with the continued inflow of new players, Thailand's tea market is indeed always vibrant."

Seishi Ueno, deputy managing director of Tipco F&B, said Suntory has more than 32 years of expertise in oolong tea.

"We have sold over 50 billion bottles of tea, establishing ourselves as No.1 in terms of tea sales in Japan," he said.

Suntory decided to tap the Thai tea market because the product's taste and quality are suited to the preferences of Thai consumers.