Tipco Beat launched for health push
Tipco Foods Plc, a canned pineapple maker, has made a foray into high-protein drinks as it angles to focus on healthy products.
The move is also intended to reduce the risk that many of Tipco's products face when the government rolls out a new tax regime targeting sugary drinks in the near future.
Managing director Ekaphol Pongstabhon said the company's healthy drink segment has seen continuous growth despite slowed consumer sentiment, especially in the first half.
That growth has led to the launch of Tipco Beat, which the company claims is Thailand's first yellow pea extract-based product.
"The launch of Tipco Beat is part of efforts to expand our portfolio to new healthy products, and not just fruit juices, to enhance our food and drink business in the long-term," Mr Ekaphol said.
Tipco Beat contains 4.5% sugar, which is considered low, helping match the government's aim to promote drinks with lower sugar content.
Mr Ekaphol said the growing popularity of high-protein and healthy drinks will help Tipco Beat become a "rising star".
High-protein drinks have become increasingly popular in Thailand, driven by lifestyle trends.
As a result, new players have recently entered the Thai market, with the Meiji and Dutch Mill brands being introduced in 2016-17.
Mr Ekaphol said the market size for high-protein drinks in Thailand was 360 million baht last year, a figure that is projected to rise to 700 million within the next three years.
He is optimistic that the segment will continue to boost annual growth in the range of 15-20% a year down the road, with more players entering the market.
Tipco has set aside 50 million baht to promote its products. Part of the company's plans includes hiring Chalita "Namtan" Suansane, the 2016 Miss Universe Thailand winner, to be Tipco Beat's brand ambassador.
The company expects to generate sales of 250 million baht from Tipco Beat within the next three years.
Total sales at Tipco reached 6 billion baht in 2016. The company expects that figure to grow by 5% to 6.3 billion baht this year.
Of that total, 40% came from canned fruits, 40% stemmed from drinks (mostly fruit juice) and the rest was brought in through other products, including natural ingredients for export.
While the Finance Ministry has yet to set an exact date on when the new sugar tax will come into effect, Mr Ekaphol said Tipco will be lightly affected because the firm focuses on premium fruit juice.
But Tipco aims to launch new fruit juice products with less sugar in the near future.