‘Undeniable’ coffee growth: Dutch Mill cites convenience and variation for new ASEAN range

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Dutch Mill is renewing its focus on its Arabus coffee range, having launched a wide variety of RTD products. ©Dutch Mill
Dutch Mill is renewing its focus on its Arabus coffee range, having launched a wide variety of RTD products. ©Dutch Mill

Related tags Coffee Asean

Thai beverage firm Dutch Mill is renewing its focus on its Arabus coffee range, having launched a wide variety of ready-to-drink products aimed to provide convenient yet affordable coffee options for consumers in the region.

Dutch Mill has a 20-year history as a specialised dairy brand in Thailand, and enjoying success in multiple export markets from the Philippines to China.

More recently, the firm decided to branch out from its traditional dairy business to focus on developing its coffee line under the Arabus brand, launching a wide variety of products simultaneously.

“Dairy is at our core and the business has reached stability over the years, so we are now also focusing on our coffee line Arabus which comes in cans, cups, bottles or 3-in-1 packet formats so there is something for everyone,”​ Dutch Mill International Business Director Theerachai Laokosakul told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“It would be very difficult to deny the growth and demand for coffee products in this region – we have had plans for this for a long time but needed to increase our understanding of the market first.

“Now we know that coffee is a very big market here in Thailand as well as beyond, but also that it needs to be packaged in a convenient format as well as provide a wide assortment of choices in order to really draw in consumers.”

Across its coffee lineup, Arabus products range from premium Chill Cup products that are fresh-dripped and made using only Arabica beans; to the more affordable Speed range sold in cans.

“In addition, we are also aware of the need to have novel innovations to interest consumers looking for more unusual products, which is why we have also launched the RTD canned Espresso Coconut – this is a combination of our Arabus espresso with fresh coconut water to be both intense and refreshing.

“The popularity of coconut as an ingredient has been on the rise here in Thailand due to its association with freshness and thirst-quenching – even though fruit juices have been seeing a dip in sales, coconut juice has not been affected and is showing the opposite trend.”

In addition to coffee, Dutch Mill has also increased its focus into immunity-focused functional dairy products, hoping to tap on the current demand for health and wellness boosting products.

“Consumers want products that not only enhance immunity but also offer other added health benefits, especially when it comes to products such as yoghurts where fermentation and gut health is already more or less a given,”​ he added.

“So now we not only have yoghurts that are probiotic-enhanced, but also cultured milk that contains probiotics, vitamin B, fibre and on top of that is also fat and cholesterol free as well as sweetened with stevia.

“This goes above and beyond what other cultured milk products such as Yakult are doing as we want to provide the maximum value possible.”

Logistics and affordability

Dutch Mill aims to expand its portfolio of chilled products across multiple categories moving forward, but is keenly aware of the importance of logistics when doing so, especially when serving a market comprising multiple islands such as the Philippines which is its key yoghurt and cultured milk export destination.

“The pandemic made everyone more aware of the importance of logistics and infrastructure, both across air and sea, so there are a lot of improvements going on targeting the problems we faced in the past,”​ he said.

“This will definitely help in terms of expanding chilled product exports to other markets, and right now I would say our main challenge is not so much other brands but competing with inflation and affordability instead.

“The only way to manage this is by maximising productivity and effectiveness, as being able to control costs and leverage this such that price hikes are not passed on to consumers can well be considered a good market advantage in these times.”

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