Lee Kum Kee in talks over Thai expansion
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Lee Kum Kee in talks over Thai expansion

Ms Chan showcasing Lee Kum Kee products at the recent Thaifex – Anuga Asia 2023 event at Impact Muang Thong Thani.
Ms Chan showcasing Lee Kum Kee products at the recent Thaifex – Anuga Asia 2023 event at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

Lee Kum Kee Sauce Group, a manufacturer of Asian sauces and seasoning for 135 years, is in talks with partners in Thailand to enter the country's ready-to-eat food market in a few years.

During a recent visit to Thailand, Cheryl Chan, the regional marketing director of Mahsuri Dagang Sdn Bhd (Lee Kum Kee's company name), said the company is studying the feasibility of developing its ready-to-eat product line in collaboration with partners in the country.

The ready-to-eat food category presents significant growth opportunities as it caters to the needs of busy customers who prefer convenience in their daily lives. Thailand's food market is considered to be large, Ms Chan said.

Lee Kum Kee's ready-to-eat offerings are currently available in Hong Kong and are exported to the US market.

According to Krungsri Research, the market value of ready-to-eat meals in Thailand is estimated at 44 billion baht, of which 26 billion is dried and shelf-stable ready-to-eat food, while 18 billion represents chilled ready-to-eat meals.

The Lee Kum Kee brand from China exports more than 300 sauce and seasoning products to 100 countries across five continents.

The company expanded its business to Thailand in 1999, with Pan Food Co Ltd overseeing the distribution of Lee Kum Kee products to hotels, restaurants and catering services, while Loxley Trading Co is responsible for marketing and distributing the products through both traditional and modern trade channels.

Roughly 40 Lee Kum Kee products are available in Thailand, including popular items like oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil.

The company recently participated in the Thaifex – Anuga Asia expo, where it showcased a wide range of sauces and condiments, aiming to strengthen its presence in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Ms Chan said Thailand holds immense potential for Lee Kum Kee, particularly in the sauce and seasoning segment, given the significant size of the food business market.

According to Statista, the food market in Thailand is estimated to be worth US$67.4 billion in 2023.

The market is expected to grow by 5.32% annually between 2023 and 2028, resulting in a market volume of $87.4 billion in 2028.

To cash in on the growth trend, Lee Kum Kee plans to launch three new products in the retail sector during the third quarter of this year, focusing on "healthy products" that are in high demand following the pandemic.

"Our goal is to establish ourselves as a trusted sauce brand in Thai households as soon as possible," she said.

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