The worldwide surge in demand for healthy food has been a major factor in the growth of a Thai company specialising in coconut chips.

The consumer-driven shift towards a healthy diet is no longer a trend but is now an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle. A growing interest in international markets and changes in consumer behaviour have driven the export value of Thai food and beverage to just over one trillion baht last year. The market is expected to grow by up to 2 percent this year.

“We started out as a small business in 1999 with my aunt as the founder,” says Thawee Korpongcharoenchai, Managing Director of Clamber & Co, which produces Coconuteen coconut chips. “The business was traditionally run without a strategic marketing plan nor brand. Back then consumers were not familiar with coconut chips as it was rather new to the market. This became a challenge as we had to educate buyers about the products’ benefits.”

After much trial and error, the business became an OTOP enterprise in 2010, when Korpongcharoenchai joined the business and began to transform it. “We started putting our rebranding strategy into action, together with a new business plan and started acquiring new customers,” he says.

The demand for healthy food products has contributed to its export expansion into markets such as China, Singapore, the US, Australia, Germany and Russia.

Currently 80 percent of the company’s business is as an OEM manufacturer for both local and international clients.

“I believe we are experts in what we do because of the experience we have acquired, and with Coconuteen being the only product, this allows us to maintain focus and quality control,” says Korpongcharoenchai. “We manufacture according to customer requirements, which may differ significantly as food regulations and standards vary from country to country.

“Thailand is a country blessed with natural resources, which makes it possible for us to manufacture our quality products at a reasonable price since we only use local coconut.

Compared with neighbouring countries, Thailand’s healthy snack industry, particularly fruit snacks, has an advantage due to variety of the ingredients and quality of resources available.”

Plans to expand the factory this year have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Korpongcharoenchai is convinced that this is just a temporary hiatus. “We are monitoring the situation as it develops and hopefully once everything is back to normal we can resume our business as usual.”

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 Words by Manisa Phromsiripranee

Photo courtesy of Clamber & Co (Thailand) Co Ltd