Thai Preserved Food sees noodles expand

Thai Preserved Food sees noodles expand

Firm upbeat on 2019 domestic prospects

Mr Yossarun predicts market growth of more than 5%. Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Mr Yossarun predicts market growth of more than 5%. Pitsinee Jitpleecheep

Thai Preserved Food Factory Co, the maker of Wai Wai instant noodles, is upbeat about domestic instant noodle prospects this year, predicting market growth of more than 5% in 2019, well ahead of the average of 1-3% growth the past three years.

Yossarun Thamkongka, the company's marketing director, said the country's instant noodle industry is expected to see active growth for the first time in several years, boosted by the government's Taste-Shop-Spend programme and the rise of the premium instant noodle segment.

Aggressive expansion by convenience stores is also helping to boost consumption of premium instant noodles, he said.

Thailand's instant noodle market saw slight growth of 1-3% over the past three years because of the domestic economic slowdown. Slowing purchasing power also prompted consumers to buy food from street vendors.

"Demand for premium instant noodles has grown by double digits for several years, driven by the launch of Korean products four years ago," Mr Yossarun said. "Growth in this segment has continued, as it matches Thais who prefer ready-to-eat meals and chilled food. We've re-entered the premium instant noodle market after withdrawing from this segment 15 years ago."

The company launched Wai Wai premium instant noodles in Wai Wai Pad Char Baby Clam and Wai Wai Tom Yum Shrimp flavours in bowl packaging to the market during the last few months.

Wai Wai is also developing a new premium product under the Wai Wai Quick brand, scheduled to be launched next year.

Thailand's instant noodle market is estimated to be worth 17 billion baht in 2019. Of the total, some 80% is from package, 18% from cup package and 2% from bowl package.

Thai President Food Plc's Mama brand is the market leader, followed by Thai Preserved Food Factory's Wai Wai with 23-24%, Ajinomoto's Yum Yum with 20-21% and other brands making up the rest.

The Wai Wai maker expects market share of all instant noodle brands under the Wai Wai group to increase to 25% in the year to come.

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