“When talking about crabs, many foreigners would say that Thai crabs are the most delicious,” says Madina Laojaroen, Deputy Managing Director of Viya Crab. “As Thai products are considered premium by international customers, we named our brand Siam Crab to communicate that they come from Thailand.”
The family business started 30 years ago when Laojaroen’s mother sold fresh crabs at markets. Viya Crab Products was established in 2005 to produce canned crab meat products. Starting as an OEM with almost all products exported to the US, in 2008, the company created the Siam Crab brand to export canned pasteurised crab meat to many markets in the region, such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Now, it exports blue crab and seafood across the globe.
Laojaroen explains it is a skilled business. “To get canned crab that meets our standard, we cannot use machines; only skilled workers. Only those who can carve the crab into pieces that will not flake,” she added.
The pandemic was a challenge for Viya Crab, as for many businesses.
“I thought of an online channel to trade as much as possible to help the fishermen who are the upstream side of our business,” says Laojaroen. “This was the reason for us starting to sell random seafood boxes via Facebook Live.”
Since starting online marketing via Facebook Live during the pandemic, their audience has increased from some 20 or 30 views to around 5,000 or 6,000 views per each live, and the orders keep rolling in.
Before the pandemic, the company’s export value was about a billion baht per year. During the pandemic, the revenue dropped to around 400 to 500 million baht. Now business is steadily improving as most countries have re-opened.
“These days, we mostly export to the US, Europe and the Middle East,” says Laojaroen. “We are accredited with all export international standards, such as GMP, HACCP, BRC, ISO9001, Halal and FDA, which are accepted around the world.”
Previously, Viya Crab generated 70% of its business overseas. Currently, with increased online marketing, such as TikTok and Facebook Fanpage, domestic sales have risen to 40% of overall business. Most customers come from hotels and restaurants, both domestically and internationally.
Explore more Thai food products at THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2023, which will take place from May 23 to 27 at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani.
For more information, visit www.viyacrabproducts.co.th and Facebook Fanpage: viyacrab
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi
Photo courtesy of Viya Crab