Nestlé (Thai) Ltd. won Thailand’s Most Admired Company 2020 in food industry from BrandAge Magazine publishing consumers survey on their trust upon organization or company with good corporate image, remarkable competitiveness, and innovation-driven enterprise, which have gained trust from Thai consumers.
The interview of Mr. Victor Seah Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Indochina reveals the success factors that contribute to this award for Nestlé, which was published in BrandAge Magazine in October 2020.
Food industry has been aggressively competitive for a long time. Being industry-leading players is, of course, the proof of the manufacture of good quality products widely trusted by consumers. This also applies to “Nestlé”, a company that runs on nutrition and health business. Not only is Nestlé the industry leader, but we are the company that have impressed consumers in the 1st rank from the Thailand’s Most Admired Company 2020 survey.
“Good food, Good life”
Mr. Victor Seah Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Indochina said that the reward reflected Nestlé working philosophy of “Good food, Good life” which is used as the key element to drive the organization in a clearer way because this is our standpoint under Nestlé purpose that we unlock the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come, which Nestlé has been adhering to.
“Health and Nutrition are the key factors to run our business. Our goal is to enhance Thai people’s health, but our concept is that with good nutrition, there must be tastiness. So, whatever products we make, we mainly focus on good nutrition that comes with tastiness.”
The key mechanism for Nestlé to achieve the goal is from the fact that we work in a consumer-centric way. Despite being an international firm, we adopt localization strategy to adapt to Thai consumer needs. This is why there are 7 Nestlé factories throughout the country, and we conduct research to study Thai consumer needs specifically, so that we can manufacture products that meet consumer demands, and that has become Nestlé potential advantage to be the first one in researching and developing innovation to the market
In the past 2 years, Nestlé has brought excitement to the market with our various innovations whether it is Mochi Ice Cream, which was brought to Thai market for the first time by Nestlé last year, and it enjoyed positive response from the market. Recently, Nestlé has made the use of this success by extending its product line with Nestlé Mochi Vanilla Salted Egg. More importantly, this was the first time in the world that ice cream packaging is designed to be made from paper for Nestlé Extreme Nama Ice Cream.
For the direction towards nutrition, Nestlé launched MILO 30% LESS SUGAR and MILO UHT No Sucrose. The formula was newly developed to not only reduce sucrose, but also to provide good nutrition from milk and other ingredients, resulting in 5,000 mg of protein. In addition, these 2 products were designed to come with bendable paper straw for the first time in Thailand in the UHT market.
Next is the products in coffee category which caught great amount of attention from market after the launch of NESCAFÉ COLD BREW, ready-to-drink coffee from cold extraction process because it was the first time in the premium coffee market that cold extraction process was used in the industry level. The highlighted product is certainly NESCAFÉ Blend & Brew in which the technology to blend 2 types of coffee beans -- Arabica and Robusta – together was employed to keep aromatic profile of the coffee beans while delivering smooth and intense flavor of coffee. Besides product innovation, Nestlé also has marketing innovation through story telling of 2 types of coffee beans in mini-heart format and executed the Interactive Marketing communication strategy by equipping Wat Mangkon MRT station with AR technology to bring new experience to the consumers. This also includes the use of innovative AR on packaging and limited-edition cup to create some amusement during Chinese Lunar New Year Festival.
“The key factors for Nestlé to be able to continually come up with innovations that meet Thai consumer demands is because we have advantage from strong R&D Centers worldwide. They research new product concepts every year, and that enables us to experiment these concepts on the perceptions of Thai consumers. Currently, it is about 30% that we are bringing new product concept trends from other countries to test run in Thailand while the other 70% is from domestic research in Thailand to figure consumer needs and then it will be brought into product development process, which takes about 12-18 months to be ready for experiment on consumers to make sure that we really understand the consumers before the market launch.”
Mr. Victor said that because of the R&D strength, it enables Nestlé to see that the trend on which consumers are increasingly focusing is the need for healthy products with more nutrition value e.g. - less sugar and sodium. Now, Nestlé has the highest number of products in the market to serve this demand as it can be seen from 64 food and beverage products that have been certified by “Healthier Choice” nutritional logo. However, not only does Nestlé provide innovations that meets consumer lifestyles, but one matter that Nestlé considered equally important is to create value to society and environment on which there are 4 things Nestlé places our importance – i.e. water resource conservation, neutralization of greenhouse gas emission, sustainable material sourcing from socially responsible suppliers, and sustainable packaging. Todays, 90% of Nestlé packaging in Thailand is environmentally friendly, and the goal is to increase the number to 100% in 2025.
64 products certified by “Healthier Choice” nutritional logo, the highest number in Thailand
“We must admit that the current trend of environmentally-friendly packaging has not been so pronounced in Thailand, but Nestlé, as a food company, sees it as our responsibility to adhere to production practices that are socially and environmentally responsible even though we have to bear more cost, so that we can deliver products that are reasonably priced to consumers and good for the environment as well.”
For future working plan, nonetheless, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Victor prioritizes 3 matters where the first priority is to focus on occupational safety and health for employees who work in the offices and in 7 production factories by implementing strict regulations to help reduce risk of infection and other diseases.
“Nestlé was among the first companies to allow its employees to work from home, WFH. To bring effectiveness out of this, it must come from trust and creation of organizational culture of participation, and the Nestlé team has been proven to be effective in continuously creating the innovation with brilliant working performance. This happens because we fully entrust our employees to make decision, and that has enabled us to work from home progressively until now.”
For the next working plan, Nestlé places our importance on business continuity, specifically on the supply chain that can continuously supply material for production and then distribute to salesperson to sell the products to consumers. The last one is the change in marketing strategies to respond to the occurring changes, for example, shifting focus to e-commerce market and developing products that fit consumer stay-at-home lifestyles by launching new products for consumption at home so that consumer can enjoy their time at home more, like coffee making recipes and iced coffee menus, or the launch of immune-boosting products such as new formula of Nestlé Boost to strengthen immunity with value pack to respond to the market condition affected by the economic slowdown.