Nestle (Thai) Ltd, the local producer of Nescafe, is set to shake up Thailand's 20-billion-baht coffee market after launching Nescafe ground and roasted coffee mix yesterday.
Thailand is the first country to taste Nescafe Blend & Brew before it is launched globally.
The company has allocated 1.4 billion baht, the highest investment in the Nescafe brand in 15 years, for the new product.
About 800 million baht has been spent to install equipment to produce Nescafe ground and roasted coffee at its own factory in Samut Prakan and at a joint factory with Prayuth Mahakitsiri in Chachoengsao province. Output from both factories will be exported to the Asean market.
Another 600 million baht will be used to promote the new mix this year.
Audrey Liow, chairwoman and chief executive of Nestle Indochina, said the Thai coffee market has become very dynamic with more choices.
Nestle has decided to stop selling Nescafe 3-in-1, its most popular product in Thailand, and replace it with Nescafe Blend & Brew.
The product was launched in Thailand because it is among the top five strategic countries for Nestle along with Japan and Britain.
"We believe the launch of Nescafe Blend & Brew can help us grow coffee consumption here," said Vladislav Andreev, business executive manager for coffee and creamers at Nestle (Thai).
Consumption of coffee per head in Thailand is estimated at about 200 cups per year, compared with 400 cups in Japan.
Last year, the instant coffee market was almost flat with only a 0.5% rise to 20 billion baht because of the economic slowdown and no innovations in the market.
About 15 billion baht was provided by the mixed coffee segment excluding ready-to-drink coffee. Nescafe was the market leader in this segment with a 60% share.
Mr Andreev said the new product was the result of considerable research into how it could improve Thai consumers' coffee experience.
The company has hired actors Pechaya Wattanamontri and James Ma as its ambassadors. More than 4 million cups of the new coffee will be given to consumers.