Ace Canning upbeat on higher growth rate

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 23 Apr 2003

By Lincoln Yap

ACE Canning Corp Sdn Bhd (ACCSB), one of the two largest players in the local market for soya bean packaged drinks is optimistic of beating its average annual growth rate of 20% with its planned foray into new markets with new products, especially premium soya milk products. 

The first local soya bean milk producer to come out with flavoured soya milk products, ACCSB is banking on its expertise and its investment of over RM1mil on sophisticated soya bean milk processing technology over the last five years. 

“Although we were the second company to produce packaged soya milk drinks locally, we were the first to invest in the sophisticated machinery necessary to not only produce the kind of drinks necessary to grow in this segment but also to come up with innovative flavours that meet nutritional requirements,” ACCSB marketing manager Paul Lim told StarBiz during an interview. 

According to Lim, market statistics show that there has been double-digit growth in the consumption of soya bean milk in recent years, with much of the upsurge attributed to its nutritional value and as a low cholesterol non-dairy alternative to milk. 

“Soya milk tastes like milk but is naturally low in saturated fats, low in cholesterol, is a complete protein and is non-dairy and this makes it good for those who are lactose intolerant. This has made it quite a successful alternative to milk,” Lim said. 

Paul Lim with the company's line of premium soya milk products with which it hopes to capture a share of the market.

He said ACCSB had developed the expertise to produce high quality soya drinks of different flavours which met the United States FDA (Food and Drug Act) requirements. 

As such, the company sees great opportunities in both the local and export markets, and although it exports to over 20 countries worldwide at present, the company plans to enter certain key markets as a supplier of top grade flavoured soya milk drinks. 

“The next stage in our strategy is to enter certain key markets like the US, Japan and China where we need to produce good soya products to meet consumer expectations as every market has certain unique requirements such as taste, sweetness, as well as pre-conceived notions of what soya bean milk should be like and how it should taste,” Lim said. 

He said markets that ACCSB had already penetrated successfully included countries like the Netherlands, Britain, and Australia, as well as Brunei and Singapore. 

In certain markets like Jamaica, Lim pointed out that the company had proven to be popular among the locals to the extent that even advertising was produced there using local talent with a distinct local flavour. 

ACCSB also exports to Bangladesh, Cam- bodia, Canada, the Czech republic, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. 

Lim said that ACCSB’s vision was to become the premier soya milk drink specialist in both Malaysia and in other markets and to do this it had to ensure that its products were of consistently high quality, and met all consumer, dietary and nutritional requirements. 

A subsidiary of Lam Soon Oil & Soap Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, ACCSB had also entered into a strategic alliance with Pokka of Japan in 1994. The joint venture had invested a total of RM20mil over the last three years in technology to produce high quality soya milk products. 

“These investments not only involve sophisticated equipment but also include the human element, both in labour and expertise,” Lim said. 

Marketed under the brand name Drinho, ACCSB’s products are familiar to Malaysians but according to Lim, they have yet to make a significant impact in many other countries as each one likes its soya milk drink in different forms. 

“Ultimately, to meet with the success we hope to achieve in line with our vision, we will have to tailor our products to meet with the different tastes and perceptions of each country,” Lim said. 

ACCSB’s products include soya bean milk in tetrapak packaging and in recent times, have included more nutritional products like its Soyfresh drinks which are considered premium products because of their high nutritional content developed with the advice of healthcare experts. 

According to Lim, it is this segment that ACCSB intends to capture market share as not only are the premium drinks popular but they also come in a flavour popular among families, such as chocolate and cappuccino. 

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