THAILAND – Suntory PepsiCo Beverage (Thailand) Co, a joint manufacturing and distribution venture of beverage giants Suntory and PepsiCo in Thailand, plans to bolster its presence in the no-sugar cola products market, which has, in the past five years, increased five times due to a health-conscious trend.

Anawat Sangkhasap, the company’s chief marketing officer, said the non-alcoholic beverage market is estimated at 150-200 billion baht a year, growing 2-3% this year.

With such promising market growth, the company has committed 100-500 million baht a year to new brands.

However, Sangkhasap revealed that the number of new brands launched in the market depends on the market.

Apart from developing new products under its existing nine brands, aligning with consumer demand and market growth, Suntory PepsiCo also aims to focus more on tapping into carbonated soft drinks with functional benefits, reaching consumers looking for healthy and refreshing drinks.

The expansion goal in carbonated soft drinks comes at a time when Thailand is to adopt the third stage of the excise tax hike for sugar-sweetened beverages on Saturday.

Despite the soft beverage industry may incur huge expenditure once the excise tax hike for sugar-sweetened beverages comes into effect, leading to either product price increase or other measures, the company noted it will cap its product prices.

“The excise tax hike will affect beverage companies, but even with higher operating costs, raising prices would be our last option,” said Ashish Joshi, the company’s chief executive.

The company also aims to explore opportunities to expand its share in the ready-to-drink tea and coffee markets, where the demand for products in the categories reportedly grew by 23% and 11%, respectively, in 2022.

The expansion will as well involve ramping up efforts in the energy drink sector, which is projected to remain a growth category over the next five years.

All these efforts narrow down to aid the company in achieving its target of 2-3 times growth at the average industry level over the next five years.

Mr. Anawat revealed that excluding the reported efforts above, Suntory PepsiCo Beverage wants to raise its brand awareness among consumers, increasing engagement via 22 marketing campaigns throughout 2023.

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