Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia at FI Asia in Bangkok last week, group business manager at KH Roberts Tan Pok Kiam said that regional market fragmentation means that finished products are less homogenous than in Europe or North America, and flavour demand is therefore for much smaller quantities.
Singapore tends to prefer a low level of sweetness, for example, while the Thai market prefers much sweeter products. In Myanmar, people prefer their coffee weak with a milky, creamy flavour, but in Malaysia and Singapore, consumers prefer high quality freshly brewed coffee. However, Tan said that those preferences can even vary within countries.
Being based in Singapore with representatives throughout the region provides the company with the advantage of literal proximity to the market, Tan said, as well as local business expertise and first-hand knowledge of local taste preferences.