Speaking to FoodNavigator-Asia during the recent Food Japan show held in Singapore, Kazuhiro Tokoi, sales manager at Tsukuba Dairy revealed more about the firm’s plans for the South East Asian (SEA) market.
Outside of Japan, Tokoi said the firm currently only has a presence in Indonesia, and after three years in the market, it planned to introduce additional flavours, such as the brown sugar flavour into its present offerings of sweetened and unsweetened versions.
He added that the gluten-free and non-GMO nature of almond milk has gained itself customers from the HoReCa (hotel, restaurants, catering) businesses for dessert making. Besides HoReCa, it also partners with wholesalers.
In terms of breaking into new markets, the firm has found distributors in Singapore and Philippines, and is in talks with others from Thailand and Malaysia.
“We feel that consumers in SEA are getting more health-conscious and so we believe that there it is a potential market,” he said.
Its Singapore distributor Phoon Huat planned to sell the products in the mid of November, said Shuichi Sato, CEO of Phoon Huat, who was also present at the interview.
This is the first time that the firm is introducing almond milk from Tsukuba Dairy into Singapore.
“One can already find some almond milk products in the market, however, the amount of raw almonds added is relatively low. The almond content in most almond milk is only 5% to 7%, while Tsukuba uses 12 pieces of almond in a carton of 125ml, which is 8% to 10% of the total content. This is why we decided to bring their product into Singapore.”
Due to the higher concentration of raw almonds, a 125ml carton will be sold at SGD$2.50 to SGD$3 in Singapore.
Back in its home market, the 125ml carton costs JYP$150, while competitor products with a bigger capacity of 200ml are priced lower at JYP$100 to JYP$120.
Tokoi explained that the firm was able to increase the almond content while having controlling the cost price as it also operates nut processing businesses.
Unsweetened milk a hit
Similar to its domestic market in Japan, the unsweetened version is more popular than the sweetened version in Indonesia, Tokoi said.
He explained that heightened health consciousness was one of the factors driving the popularity of the unsweetened version.
As its products are more expensive, its B2B customers are generally hotels and restaurants located in the richer parts of Indonesia, such as the Bali Island, a popular tourist spot.