Sunkist Growers seeks to bear fruit in Thai market

Sunkist Growers seeks to bear fruit in Thai market

David Bolton Director – Global Licensing, Sunkist Growers Inc (left) and Apirak Kosayodhin  Chairman & CEO, V Foods Corporation Co
David Bolton Director – Global Licensing, Sunkist Growers Inc (left) and Apirak Kosayodhin Chairman & CEO, V Foods Corporation Co

Sunkist Growers Incorporated, a US-based citrus growers' non-stock membership cooperative, has expanded its Sunkist Freshie brand to the Thai market.

Thailand is now the 49th licensee country to make and market the products being produced by the 120-year-old cooperative, which brings together 6,000 members from California and Arizona.

Sunkist has signed a contract with Thai firm V Foods Corporation to produce and market its drinks in Thailand for 10 years, with an option for another five-year renewal.

V Foods Corp is owned by former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin.

Sunkist brand product, including orange fruit juice and snacks, have been available in Thailand for over a decade, said David Bolton, director of global licensing at Sunkist Growers Inc, during a visit to Thailand yesterday.

But this is the first time the company is launching two new orange juice flavours -- Blood Orange Juice and Navel Orange Juice -- in the Thai market. The drinks, with reduced sugar content, are aimed at more health-conscious consumers.

Sunkist Freshie has been co-developed by Sunkist Growers Inc and V Foods Corporation exclusively for Thailand.

Starting this month, the company began selling two Sunkist Freshie drinks at 7-Eleven convenience stores in Greater Bangkok, as well as in the East, said Mr Apirak.

The beverage is expected to be available via all modern retail channels next year, he said.

V Foods hired General Beverage Co to manufacture the beverage, while DKSH is handling the distribution.

Mr Apirak said that the company added Sunkist to its product portfolio as a part of efforts to enhance V Foods as one of the country's leading food and drink companies.

"With over 20 years of experience in Thailand's drink market, we believe there is still room for growth, due to the increasing number of health-conscious people, he said.

Thailand's beverage industry was valued at 13 billion baht last year, of which 2 billion baht belongs to the refreshment drink market. The segment boasts annual growth of 3-5%.

Mr Apirak set up V Foods Corporation Co three years ago to distribute its own products, including "V Corn" brand sweetcorn, "V Farm" dried fruit and "V Kitchen soup".

The company also markets the popular Laotian ready-to-drink coffee, "Dao", in Thailand.

Sales of all products under V Foods was 200 million baht last year and is forecast to reach 250 million this year.

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