'Regional wings' strategy helps Super Group grow

'Regional wings' strategy helps Super Group grow

Food ingredients firm Super Group has turned itself into a household name across the region in just 25 years of existence - and it certainly could not have done so without venturing abroad.

The company has three ingredients manufacturing facilities and six packaging plants in the region, including one of each in Singapore.

High costs and labour constraints here played a part in prompting Super Group to make the move overseas, but more importantly, it wanted to localise itself in the various markets.

This means making different blends of its three-in-one coffee for different markets, and even packaging them differently.

"In Thailand, they like their coffee sweeter, so we produce sweeter coffee there. In Singapore, we prefer less sugar," said general manager Elaine Teo.

In Myanmar, where coffee was never a big part of the culture, consumers have yet to figure out how sweet they like their brew.

"To make the choice easier for consumers, we recently came up with a sachet that has sugar on one side, separated from the coffee and creamer on the other side, so drinkers can choose their own sweetness level," said business development manager Darren Teo.

The company continues to come up with new products and packaging designs, and it can do so efficiently because of its regionalisation strategy, said Ms Teo.

For example, Super Group took just six to eight months to roll out a new product in Malaysia recently - the "Super Power" range of five-in-one coffees, which are a blend of its white coffee mix with ingredients such as collagen, tongkat ali and ginseng.

"Since we manufacture in Malaysia itself, we didn't have to deal with import procedures, which are quite strict there," she said. "We could also get halal certification and other certificates all in Malaysia itself, so it was definitely a lot easier."

The company said that even as it spreads its wings across the region, it will keep its home base and certain high-end manufacturing activities in Singapore.

Mr Teo said: "The Singapore plant now makes high-end creamer. We can now create foam out of instant creamer, and creamer that can dissolve in cold water to make instant iced coffee."

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