Saigoneer

Back Eat & Drink » Ice Cream Wars: Japan's Frozen Treat Makers Take on European Firms in Southeast Asia Market

Southeast Asia’s dessert market is getting some healthy competition as Japanese companies join the fray, hoping to take a piece of the pie from their European counterparts.

Though European firms have long held sway in the region – treat maker Unilever arrived in Thailand in 1989, while Nestle showed up in 1993 – Japanese businesses seek to enter Southeast Asia’s dessert game, reports Nikkei Asian Review. However it’s not going to be an easy road for frozen treat producers, as the two above-mentioned companies now control 60% and 15% of the regional market, respectively.

Part of the European firms’ strength lies in their range of products, which span from cheap, low-end treats to more expensive, high-quality desserts. Japanese companies, on the other hand, are banking on the region’s rising middle class, aiming to balance good quality with a mid-range price point.

Newbies like Ezaki Glico and Akagi Nyugyo recently entered the Thai market and are managing to make inroads. Today, Thai shoppers can find Glico products in roughly 2,000 locations in and around Bangkok; about half of these venues are supermarkets and convenience stores. While this represents positive growth, Kiyotaka Shimamori, Glico Frozen’s Thailand leader, believes there is more work to be done in developing relationships with small business owners.

“There is demand for our products, but it is essential to cultivate locally rooted sales channels,” Shimamori told Nikkei.

In a region where family-owned businesses like Vietnamese tạp hoá are far more prevalent than large retail chains, foreign companies must look to smaller local businesses in order to grow.

In this regard, both Nestle and Unilever have succeeded. In addition to a sales network of more than 60,000 stores, Unilever also boasts 5,000 mobile vendors in Thailand alone, whose traveling ice cream men and women help to bring brand visibility beyond local shops. Nestle’s network is about half the size.

Still, Japanese companies remain confident that they’ll be able to wedge their way into the dessert business.

“We want a 20% market share in Thailand as soon as possible,” Glico’s Shimamori told the news outlet.

[Photo via Pantip]


Related Articles:

[Photos] 15 Strange Snacks From Around Asia (But Mostly Japan)

The Strict Stipulations Behind Takashimaya's Top-Notch Service

Saigon Housing Is About to Get the Japanese Treatment


Related Articles

in Eat & Drink

Da Nang's Taiwanese Taco Shop Is out of This World

It's fair to be skeptical of Mexican food in a country like Vietnam. Despite the best efforts of chefs across the country, tacos in Southeast Asia can often wind up being oceans away – both literally ...

in Eat & Drink

Funky History: The Romans Made Fish Sauce, Too

Nước mắm holds a hallowed place in Vietnamese cuisine. In all its forms, it is a staple, found in kitchens and on tables throughout the country. But while fish sauce is often considered Vietnam’s – an...

in Eat & Drink

Hanoi Launches Mobile Testing Labs to Promote Food Safety

Hanoi recently launched three mobile food testing labs in an effort to reassure consumers and promote food safety.

in Eat & Drink

Hanoi's Communist Cafe Chain Comes to Saigon

Set foot inside the newly opened southern branch of Cong Caphe and you'll instantly feel like a giant. The endless array of tchotchke lining its concrete walls and wooden shelves – transistor radios, ...

in Eat & Drink

How Farming Technology Could Improve the Quality of Vietnamese Produce

As farmers struggle to keep up with demand for fresh produce in Vietnam, safe and effective farming technologies may be the answer.

in Eat & Drink

International Pop-Up Restaurant to Open This Week in Saigon

When James Sharman starts talking about the last three weeks, he gets a little wide-eyed. His hands animate each story, hovering above the table. Between sips of coffee, he launches into tales of squi...

Video »

BUDX HCMC