Oishi bidding to sell green tea back to its birthplace

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Green tea originated in Japan hundreds of years ago, and now the tea produced in Thailand by the Oishi Group could be finding its way back to the Land of the Rising Sun as an import.

The group is hoping to win Japanese tea drinkers’ hearts at an upcoming food show next month.

Two containers of Oishi Green Tea will be shipped to Tokyo’s international food expo, Foodex Japan 2005.

“We’re looking to ink a contract to market green tea through mini-marts in Japan,” said Tan Passakornnatee, Oishi president and chief executive.

If the push proves successful, Japan will become Oishi’s newest export market, after Laos, Cambodia, Australia and some European countries, where the tea has been exported for the past five months.

Still, said Tan, the export market was not the group’s focus, as it has witnessed robust growth on the domestic market. Right now, only 5-6 per cent of output is being exported and Oishi has no plans to boost the ratio above 10 per cent in the near future.

“Our domestic sales record remains strong and there is great potential to penetrate more hotels, restaurants, hospitals and entertainment venues,” he added.

Oishi is now the Kingdom’s leader in the green tea market, claiming a 46-per-cent share, followed by Unif (36 per cent) and Sencha (11 per cent). Bangkok is Oishi’s biggest market, generating 50 per cent of domestic sales.

Last year, green tea generated Bt1.97 billion for the group, or 60 per cent of its total revenue, thanks to the installation of three more production lines. Oishi now operates seven production lines.

“We will run all the lines at their full capacity in April, when all kinds of drinks are selling well,” said Tan.

The group’s remaining revenue of Bt1.3 billion was generated by its food business. Altogether, the group’s total revenue of Bt3.27 billion represented 152-per-cent growth from Bt1.3 billion a year earlier. In 2004, Oishi reported audited net profit of Bt487.2 million.

Other than its green tea, Oishi also intends to be more aggressive with its chilled foods this year, with plans to put its products in 200 7-Eleven outlets in the next 12 months, an increase from 56 outlets last year.

Published on March 01, 2005

Siriporn Chanjindamanee

The Nation

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