Nestle, the Switzerland-based food giant, has chosen Thailand as the world's first country to launch its soy drink product to tap into Thailand's ready-to-drink milk market and growing plant-based consumption.
Chaiyong Sakulborrirug, business executive officer – Dairy & Adult Nutrition at Nestle (Thai), said after studying the market opportunity for two years, the company yesterday officially launched ''Milo Soy'' drink on the Thai market as the world's first country among Nestle's network, citing Thailand as a strategic market for Milo worldwide with top sales.
"The ready-to-drink milk market in Thailand is very large. Although the overall market has been affected by the economic slowdown in the past year, there is still potential for the market to grow again in the future,'' Mr Chaiyong said.
According to market research firm Nielsen, despite the country's ready-to-drink milk market shrinking by 7.5% in 2021, total market value remained relatively high at more than 44 billion baht, with soy milk constituting 30%, worth about 13.5 billion baht, led by Lactasoy and Vitamilk.
The soy drink market is three times bigger than that of chocolate malt beverages, which is worth around 4.5 billion baht a year.
"These figures make us believe that the country's soymilk market has great potential and can create growth opportunities in the future,'' he said, adding the move is also in line with the growing trend of alternative plant-based beverages among Thais.
Mr Chaiyong said plant-based beverages are also becoming increasingly popular in many countries around the world because of environmental concerns.
An in-depth study by Kantar, a leading global brand and data analytics consulting firm, also found that mothers in the digital age like to search for information on parenting and pay attention to good nutrition.
At the same time, they still want their children to eat what they like and place importance on their children's happiness in order to balance physical and mental health.
"Though we are a new player entering this market, we believe in good response from customers,'' Mr Chaiyong said, citing the popularity of its Milo product among Thai children for almost seven decades.