Aug 14, 2013

Coca Cola to debut HABU herbal tea in Thailand


Habu herbal tea officially launched for the Thai market, as Coca Cola believed herbal beverages had always been an integral part of Thai culture. The new entrant is targeting the 21 bil baht ready-to-drink herbal beverage business.

The drink is made up of four main ingredients; roselle, licorice, luo han guo and cogangrass.

Coca Cola identifies herbal, herbal-fused and tea-based drinks among the top three popular drinks alongside water and sparkling beverages in food shops and traditional and modern trade stores. Demand for herbal tea has grown by 25% in the past three years.

Coca Cola is optimistic about this product and projects a growth of 25-30% in its first year. They plan to introduce Habu to other countries in the future.

Coca Cola will also spend 800 mil baht (about S$33.3 mil) to promote its non-carbonated drinks this year and at least the same amount next year.

What does this mean?

I believe the advertising and related industry is set for another good year as Thai companies go all out on advertising and promotions this year. I expect next year to be the same if not better.

Participants in the non-alcoholic beverages market include Oishi's tea drinks, and locally we have our Jia Jia Liang Teh, although it can breathe easily this year as Habu will not be launched in Singapore yet. Serm Suk, with its est cola will spend about 1.2 bil baht this year, while Thai Bev will spend another 1.2 bil baht to market Chang beer in 2014. I am sure the other competitors will follow suit in promotions.

I will try to sample Habu soon if I make another trip to the Kingdom, but personally I am not a consumer of Coca Cola's drinks. No offence but to me I would buy a can of Coca Cola to remove stains or clean the toilet bowl, not pour it down my throat.

Namthip is the bottler of Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and I like its innovative way to bottle drinking water. The plastic bottle is thin but some air pressure is used to 'puff' up the bottle and when the cap seal is open, the gas releases and the bottle feels flexible. This enables lesser amount of plastic used in a bottle, which is good for the environment, good for cost savings. Jia Jia on the other hand, the aluminium can feels heavier than all other drink cans I have held, perhaps they are inefficient in that regard.

That aside, I have also personally witnessed the vast distribution reach of Serm Suk, as almost every food vendor, roadside shop and almost every corner I turn, I can see est cola for sale.

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