Ichitan eyes expansion of fizzy drinks

Ichitan eyes expansion of fizzy drinks

Carbonated liquids see high demand

Tan Passakornnatee, chief executive, Ichitan Group Plc.
Tan Passakornnatee, chief executive, Ichitan Group Plc.

Ichitan Group Plc, the producer and marketer of Ichitan ready-to-drink green tea, is ramping up its carbonated soft drink business to tap into strong consumer demand.

According to Tan Passakornnatee, the company's chief executive, the company is ready to resume the expansion of carbonated soft drinks this month after the pandemic caused several years of delay.

"We're beefing up our carbonated soft drinks because the industry witnessed a strong performance in the first quarter this year," said Mr Tan.

"Although demand for such drinks in 2021 contracted by 1.5%, the contraction rate remained much lower than functional drinks and fruit juice, which sharply declined during the quarter."

He said the company will also produce its own carbonated soft drink to reduce the risk of reliance on only ready-to-drink green tea.

Ichitan will also provide original equipment manufacturer (OEM) goods to other beverage companies, said Mr Tan.

The company is engaged in OEM contracts with two companies, including Asahi, the leading Japanese beverage company.

He said the move is part of the group's "3N" strategy, which aims to boost sales of Ichitan to 10 billion baht in three years, up from an estimated 6.5 billion in 2022.

3N stands for new product, new market, and new business, which is no longer limited to beverages.

The company recently collaborated with Nestlé Ice Cream to launch Nestlé Ichitan Green Tea Honey Lemon Ice Cream, targeting teenagers.

Mr Tan said while many products tallied lower sales during Covid-19 lockdowns, ice cream purchases increased not only in Thailand, but also in the US, India, and many other countries.

Ichitan is also in the process of collaborating with other brands and will launch more products this year to expand its customer base and explore new business opportunities, he said.

The company aims to expand its business abroad to cover more categories of beverages, both via traditional and modern trade, in Indonesia, said Mr Tan.

"Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam remain our strategic areas," he said.

"We recently adjusted our product portfolio in Laos, both for tea and non-tea drinks, by launching Bireley's beverages, while we plan to launch soon new Ichitan green tea products to tap Gen Z consumers in Cambodia."

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