‘Hydration with enjoyment’: Suntory PepsiCo enters Thai ‘Water Plus’ market in hopes of replicating to replicate Japanese success

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Suntory Pepsico is a Thai joint venture between PepsiCo Inc and Japan's Suntory Beverage and Food Ltd.
Suntory Pepsico is a Thai joint venture between PepsiCo Inc and Japan's Suntory Beverage and Food Ltd.

Related tags Suntory Pepsico Thailand

Suntory PepsiCo Beverage (Thailand) Company Limited (SPBT) has pioneered entry intoentered the Thai ‘Water Plus’ market, first launched in Japan, with the launch of its new goodmood water range.

SPBT is a joint venture in Thailand between Japanese beverage firm Suntory Beverage & Food Limited (SBF) and PepsiCo Inc.

“‘goodmood’ is not a functional drink, it’s a ‘water plus’ beverage,” ​said Omer Malik, SPBT CEO to FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“Water is good for daily hydration but [lacks] taste enjoyment, while sweetened drinks are tasty but high in sugar, so we [saw] an unmet demand there, [and decided] to offer a new choice to consumers: ‘Water Plus’.

“It’s [essentially water plus] a refreshing taste, so is a [guilt-free], healthier choice with sugar [content of] less than 6 grams per 100ml.”

The ‘Water Plus’ category was established by Suntory in Japan in 2014. According to Malik, it was created using a blend of Suntory’s ‘expertise in innovations, continuous investment on brand development and strong market executions’​, and the range includes plain water, natural tasting water and sparkling water.

According to the official goodmood release, this category took 30% of the packaged water market share in Japan last year, which was an 11% increase over the past five years..

“[It is a] new beverage choice and concept, [a] guiltless refreshment that keeps [consumers] hydrated with the perfect balance of pure water for hydration plus the taste for uplifting sensation,” ​he added.

The goodmood range is the first Suntory product to be launched under SPBT. Malik said the product would make SPBT the ‘first key player’ ​in the ‘Water Plus’ category, in which the company hopes to establish a market-leadingposition.

Goodmood will be sold in two flavours in Thailand starting March 15 2019: Blackcurrent (only in 7-Eleven stores) and, for the first time globally, a clear Yoghurt (sold in both modern trade and traditional trade stores nationwide) at THB20 (US$0.63) for a 450ml bottle.

The healthier the better

Malik added that the Thai beverage market had been driven by a rising demand for healthier drinks in recent years, with consumers getting more health conscious.

“[This] has been reflected in increasing consumption and shift to Water and non-carbonated drinks which now account for around 70% of the total market,” ​he said.

 “From our research, consumers demand for drinks has focused more on health. We believe that this shift in beverage demand will continue, and that consumers will increasingly seek beverages that are [not only natural and healthy], but also tasty.

“We see [a] similar trend in Japan, a developed market with dynamic and advanced consumer trends especially on health-related products, [leading to] a positive growth of less-sugar and non-sugar products as a result of these trends.

“Suntory [has proven the success of] the ‘Water Plus’ (Natural tasting water) segment [in this area], with its expertise in consumer-centric innovations. SPBT believes we can replicate this success in Thailand with Suntory’s expertise and a strong non-carbonated product portfolio,”​ said Malik.

In terms of health and wellness benefits, Malik stressed that the goodmood range had been certified as a ‘Healthier Choice’ product by the Thai FDA due to its low sugar content, and also contains zero preservatives, artificial colourings or artificial sweeteners.

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