Coca-Cola positive on Malaysia’s outlook despite challenges in F&B sector
18 Apr 2023
Coca-Cola Bottlers (M) Sdn Bhd (Coca-Cola Malaysia) said the Malaysian market offers considerable opportunities for growth, despite the challenges affecting the food and beverage (F&B) industry such as rising commodity prices and supply chain disruption.
Bottling Investments Group for Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei chief executive officer Louis Balat Joseph said consumers can expect more exciting times ahead in terms of product and consumer experience.
“We see F&B (a big part of Malaysian culture) as a catalyst of growth for companies like ours and we are positive about the long-term outlook of the industry and the broader Malaysian economy, post-pandemic,” he told the New Straits Times.
Joseph said the company supported the government’s aim to lower the cost of goods and future enabling policies to boost growth.
“We recognise that the wider F&B industry is now severely affected due to the hike in prices in the commodity and supply chain disruption that is now happening globally.
“The current major price spike, including the implementation of higher electricity rates for commercial and industrial users, poses a challenge for the industry to provide offerings competitively. We welcome more dialogue with the government to work and support policies that will not only meet objectives but spur exponential business growth in Malaysia,” he said.
The company has invested around RM1.3 billion to build its distribution hub at Halal Park, Bandar Enstek in Negri Sembilan.
Some RM500 million from the investment was allocated to the plant’s expansion and a state-of-the-art Automated Storage Retrieval System warehouse, tripling its plant storage capacity and paving the path to sustainable manufacturing.
Joseph said the company would continue to adhere to its commitment to provide a variety of great-tasting healthier options in low and zero-sugar categories.
Coca-Cola Malaysia manufactures and distributes more than 80 products in Malaysia, and according to Joseph, the company regularly evaluated the performance of its portfolios.
When asked if some products might be removed from the shelves, Joseph said that “portfolio rationalisation is a common practice by any business.”
“More importantly, we will continue to provide the best product offering for varying needs to serve multiple segments of consumers, with product innovation at the core. Our innovative approach applies across our portfolio in which we deliver low and no-sugar beverage options and expand their availability to cater to the evolving needs of Malaysian consumers.
“We offer more small packaging choices and provide clear nutritional information to enable consumers to make informed choices and decisions. In this regard, Coca-Cola Malaysia remains committed to helping Malaysians reduce sugar intake, in line with government initiatives, while delivering great-tasting drinks that people love,” he said.
According to Joseph, more than 85 per cent of the drinks qualified for the Healthier Choice Logo, which was recognised by the Ministry of Health and indicated reduced and zero sugar options for consumers.
Meanwhile, Joseph said adopting digital transformation in the form of digital tools and platforms would be important to enhancing business sustainability and operational efficiency.
With this transformation and digital expansion in the F&B sector, he said, the company was experiencing great dynamics between dining-in and delivery.
Joseph said the company was expanding its strategy and embracing the eCommerce revolution to ensure that its brands are “within a click’s reach of desire” as online purchasing continues to rise as a result of Covid-19.
“It is a prerequisite in this digital age that F&B business owners should factor digital transformation into their business plan, utilising digital tools to provide the needed competitive edge during this period of economic recovery or thereon.
“No doubt, the industry will continue to grow and evolve both in the short and long term. We need to adapt to these changes quickly in order to thrive. And we believe we are on the right track,” he said.