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Hup Seng to focus on brand building, product development
Posted by NewsBot on 23/01/2010 8:59:50 a.m. Reply to this post

Biscuit maker Hup Seng Industries Bhd will focus on building and strengthening its in-house brand of beverages, In-Comix, in the local market.

Chairman Keh (Kerk) Chu Koh said it would step up research and development (R&D) activities to churn out more products for consumers.

“We are still in the midst of conducting tests and product development and target to introduce new products this year,’’ he told StarBizWeek after the company EGM recently.

Keh said new products would include instant beverages in 2-in-1 sachets with focus on new 3-in-1 coffee and instant coffee concoctions.

He said demand for 3-in-1 coffee and instant coffee in Malaysia had grown positively over the years as more people were drinking them.

“Consumers want convenience and beverages such as coffee and tea in 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 sachets are the answer to that,’’ said Keh.

He said although there were no official statistics on coffee consumption per capita in the country, business was good considering the number of brands of 3-in-1 coffee and instant coffee available in the market.

However, despite being ranked third in terms of market share for instant coffee in the country, In-Comix was still not well-known and the company would have to work harder to raise brand awareness, said Keh.

“We are focusing on the domestic market which we regard as more important compared with the export market that’s fraught with greater uncertainty,” he added.

Hup Seng had in 2005 acquired the Senai-based In-Comix Food Industries Sdn Bhd for RM22mil as part of its strategy to add synergy to its biscuit-making business.

Apart from instant beverages in 2-in-1 sachets, 3-in-1 coffee and tea, In-Comix Food also produces instant cup noodles and cereals in sachets.

“Malaysians can be considered loyalists when it comes to drinking tea or coffee and most of them will usually stick to certain brands if they already like the taste,’’ said Keh.

Meanwhile, he said the local biscuit-making industry faced its toughest time now with prices of raw materials and fuel on the uptrend.

Keh said biscuit makers had to contend with sugar price hike and they expect fuel and crude palm oil prices to also increase in the coming months.

He said the rising petroleum prices in the global market would create a chain reaction where prices of other things such as packaging materials and transportation would also escalate.

Manufacturers also had difficulty hiring locals to work and would still have to depend on foreign labour, he said.

“We hope the relevant authorities will look into the matter and help us (manufacturers). We want to hire locals but where are these people?’’ he said.

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