With the growing trend toward health and sports, Taokaenoi Food & Marketing Plc, the maker of seaweed snacks, has branched out to make health drinks to boost sales growth this year.
Itthipat Peeradechapan, the company's chief executive, said after the success of selling "My Whey", a whey protein brand, online in 2017, the company has worked to expand the product via retail channels this year.
"Whey protein products form a new, global drink trend, becoming popular over the past several years, in line with an uptick in athletic activity. It is a very promising market for us," said Mr Itthipat.
In the US, the market for whey protein products is estimated at US$8 billion (256 billion baht).
In Thailand, the popularity of whey protein has continued to grow, notably over the past few years. Initially it was popular among bodybuilders, but now it is widely used by both men and women for weight control and as a food supplement, he said.
The more fitness centres open in Thailand, the more popular whey protein becomes, said Mr Ittiphat.
The whey protein market is attractive for Taokaenoi because it fits the company's health brand focus and the market is growing, driven by the entry of new players each year.
There are over 10 whey protein brands available in the market, he said, although no one has made serious efforts to expand their business.
"The introduction of My Whey will enable us to expand our customer base and drive sustainable growth because we are not relying only on one product," said Mr Itthipat.
Apart from My Whey, the company recently launched My Whey Pink Diamond, a new whey protein powder for female fitness enthusiasts.
The company hired Ranee "Bella" Campen, the popular actress, to become the presenter for My Whey Pink Diamond this year.
My Whey Pink Diamond is being targeted at fitness-conscious, millennial women.
The company plans to invest 15 million baht on marketing activities to raise and spread awareness among consumers, both in offline and online channels this year.
My Whey Pink Diamond is available at health and beauty retailers, including Watsons, Boots, and Eveandboy, as well as leading fitness centres.
Sales of all My Whey protein products are expected to reach 120 million baht this year, up from 50 million last year.
The company is aiming to boost overall domestics sales to grow by 8-10% to 2 billion baht this year.
Taokaenoi reported gross revenue of 1.33 billion baht in the first quarter, up by 19.1% over the same period last year.
But the company's net profit was down by 11.2% to 151.7 million baht, because of the higher costs of the key raw material seaweed.
Taokaenoi also plans to launch two new products under its portfolio next quarter, along with a new brand.
It also plans to spend 200 million baht to install new machines at its new snack factory in Ayutthaya province. The new factory aims to produce 6,000 tonnes of seaweed snacks every year.