Japan's Suntory enters 'water plus' market
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Japan's Suntory enters 'water plus' market

Goodmood brand caters to Asean tastes

Ms Ng and Mr Yamashita present the Goodmood flavoured water. PITSINEE JITPLEECHEEP
Ms Ng and Mr Yamashita present the Goodmood flavoured water. PITSINEE JITPLEECHEEP

Thais have had a positive attitude towards Japanese culture for a long time. Whether music, games, food, lifestyle, trends or quality products, Thais frequently list Japanese as their favourite in these categories.

Suntory, the world's fourth-largest food and beverage producer, is riding this trend by next month entering Thailand's drinking water market, which is highly competitive.

Katy Ng, head of marketing for Suntory brands at Suntory PepsiCo Beverage Thailand Co Ltd (SPBT), a joint venture of Suntory Group and PepsiCo, said the company will introduce Goodmood water, the first product under SPBT, to the Thai market on March 14.

Thailand will have the third-largest elderly population in Asia after Japan and Singapore in 2030. It also has rising demand for and consumption of healthier drinks.

Packaged drinking water grew by 4.6% in 2018 and saw average growth of 5% in the past five years.

"Goodmood is specially created for Asean customers, with Thailand the second market after launching in Indonesia two years ago," Ms Ng said.

Omer Malik, chief executive of SPBT, said the company decided to expand into Thailand's packaged water market because it is the only ready-to-drink category among Thailand's liquid refreshments that is recording high growth.

Ms Ng said Goodmood has less than six grammes of sugar per 100 millilitres, catering to health-conscious consumers and those who look for a distinct taste.

Yusuke Yamashita, senior manager of marketing for beverages at Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Pte Ltd, said Suntory created the "water plus" category in Japan in 2014.

Since then, the category has continued to grow in volume. Its contribution to Japan's total packaged water market has increased from 19% to 30% in just five years, and it is currently worth 9.6 billion baht.

Mr Malik said the company believes it can replicate this success in Thailand. The country's drinking water segment was valued at 34.9 billion baht in 2018, or 3.2 billion litres.

"Thailand is a very important strategic market because Thailand's drinking water market is big," Ms Ng said.

She said it's the right time to launch Goodmood products in the Thai market, due to positive growth of less-sugar and no-sugar products. Moreover, the demand for premium products in Thailand is still promising relative to mainstream products.

In addition, the government policy of promoting health will support the launch of Goodmood, she said.

"Goodmood will help recruit customers who have already shifted from carbonated soft drinks to our products, which bridges the gap between carbonated soft drinks and drinking water," Ms Ng said, adding that it will perfectly suit modern adults in Bangkok and upcountry urban areas seeking a healthier lifestyle. It also aims to address all-day hydration with a refreshing taste.

Charonchai Salyapong, SPBT's corporate affairs director, said the company has invested 100 million baht to install production facilities for Goodmood products at its factory in Saraburi province, which boasts a production capacity of 800 bottles a minute. Some 170 million baht will be spent to promote Goodmood this year.

"With the launch of Goodmood, we believe this will help complement our existing portfolio and help us become a strong player in the liquid refreshment segment very soon," Mr Malik said.

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