NESTLE Foods (M) Sdn Bhd is eyeing Central Asia as a potential new export market for its products while aiming for a bigger market share in the Middle East countries, according to its factory manager Izam Harun.
Izam, who is in charge of the Nestle factories in Kuching, Sarawak, and Batu Tiga in Shah Alam, said the company would capitalise on its wide range of halal products to penetrate Central Asia and to sell more in the Middle East.
About 15% of Nestle products manufactured in Malaysia are now exported to the Middle East, Singapore, Britain, US and other countries, he said after a media tour of Nestle's factory in Demak Laut Industrial Park, Kuching yesterday.
He said the government's efforts to make Malaysia a hub for halal food would help Nestle in its exports particularly to countries with a big Muslim population. There are some 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
To grow, we have to go overseas where the money is, added Izam.
Operating around the clock six days a week, Nestle's Kuching factory produces Maggi 2-minute noodles of the curry, chicken and asam laksa variants for the Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei markets
About 5% of the Maggi noodles produced in Malaysia were now exported mainly to the Middle Eastern markets, Izam said, adding that to cater for the tastes of the consumers there, Nestle had developed cheese-flavoured noodles.
He said Malaysian consumed less instant noodles than the Indonesians but more than the Singaporeans.
Nestle (M) Bhd group corporate affairs manager Tengku Marina Badlishah said Nestle Maggi was Malaysia's market leader in instant noodles, with a 54% share.
She said the country's instant noodles market grew by about 2% per annum, and that Nestle had been able to sustain its No. 1 position for years.
Tengku Maria said the availability of foreign brands of instant noodles, like those from South Korea and Japan, in the local market had not affected the sales of local products.