Top OTOP brand shows how you can turn a fruit price crisis into a promising business adventure.
“Within every crisis lies an opportunity,” says Surapong Narongnoy, managing director of Chainoi Food. Narongnoy established the Chainoi brand when the price for Thailand’s durian was very low, about 5 to 10 baht per kilogram. “I decided to add value to the abundant cheap durians by making and selling durian chips in my hometown, Chumphon and nearby provinces including Petchaburi and Ratchaburi.”
Now, the company has extended its product line into durian paste, durian crackers, finger-banana chips and banana paste, with plans to add many additional products in the future. Chainoi owns two production plants in Chumphon that produce and market snacks under its own brands, as well as for its partners.
“In addition to our good quality raw materials from Southern Thailand and standard production process, Chainoi stands out from other snack brands by offering a variety of delicious fruit snacks in different packaging sizes,” Narongnoy says. “We also distribute our products through many channels ranging from traditional shops to convenience stores and hypermarkets, therefore, consumers can buy Chainoi products easily.”
Understanding customer choices has been another key component for the company’s success.
“Consumers in each country may have different preferences. For example, the Chinese love durian crackers with its strong smell, while Koreans prefer butter banana chips which are sweeter than the products sold in Thailand. Therefore, we have to provide them with what they want,” he says. “We also adjust our packaging to suit the consumption patterns of consumers in each market such as smaller packaging at cheaper prices in Myanmar.”
Currently, 80% of Chainoi’s products are sold on the domestic market while 20% is exported to overseas markets including China, Cambodia, Myanmar and Australia. China is the company’s largest international market. Moreover, the company is discussing possible partnerships with businesses in South Korea and Laos.
“The Northeast and border markets will be our [key] targets as they can be the gateway to export products to neighboring countries,” Narongnoy says.
Apart from distributing its products through traditional and modern trading channels, Chainoi has developed its own shops along three models: Chainoi House that sells Chainoi products alongside partner brands, the Chainoi Shop franchise and Chainoi Kiosk.
“We plan to franchise Chainoi Shop both in Thailand and overseas markets. Now, we are focusing on bus terminals throughout Thailand. Moreover, we will set up a kiosk in our partner’s shop in Myanmar too,” Narongnoy explains.
Currently, Chainoi is working with other OTOP brands nationwide to create a new product which is a mixture of Chainoi durian and other food.
“Chainoi is open to any opportunity to mix and match other Thai snacks with our durian products,” Narongnoy says. “Whenever consumers want to have Thai fruit snacks, I want them to think about Chainoi. In the next five years, I hope to see Chainoi shops in every region in Thailand.”
Having taken part in the OTOP project in Chumphon since 2003, the company has joined many activities organised by the DITP, such as marketing training and tradeshows, which have helped boost its business opportunities. Chainoi has also been awarded Thailand Trust Mark (T Mark), a symbol of excellence and trusted quality.
For more information, visit: www.chainoifood.co.th
Words by Somhatai Mosika