Thu, Jun 15, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Cerebos aims to muscle in on the clam drink market

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cerebos (Taiwan) Ltd (台灣食益補), which distributes Brand's essence of chicken in the local market, yesterday announced it planned to tap into another burgeoning sector -- essence of clam -- and vowed to corner the market.

Its participation in this new segment is expected to shake up the industry, considering its strong brand name and flexible marketing tactics, company executives said.

"Some have speculated that our entry into the essence of clam market is a result of difficulties encountered in expanding our sales of essence of chicken. I'd say [revenues of] our trademark product are still growing and the decision was made purely to meet consumer demand and sharpen our competitiveness," said Andy Feng (馮南陽), Cerebos' senior vice president and chief executive officer, during a product launch.

Believing that essence of clam has great potential as public awareness of the health benefits of such supplements has increased, the company dedicated three years to research and development and has every confidence it will secure a significant market share.

"We'll invest NT$50 million [US$1.5 million] during the first year, and aim to grow the market and rake in sales of NT$100 million after 12 months," said Janice Leu (呂艷芳), the company's marketing director.

According to the company's own market survey, some people shy away from essence of clam because of its offensive smell.

"It was very difficult to achieve the technological breakthrough, but I'm proud to say that we've made it by adding wild ginger and garlic to make it palatable," Feng said.

Feng also claimed that their product was 37 percent more concentrated than competitors'. He didn't name the competition, although Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖) has dominated the clam business for years.

Taisugar yesterday welcomed its new competitor's entry into the market but shrugged off Cerebos' self-praise.

"They might have a stronger brand but all products must be put to the test and the figures will tell the story. I believe consumers will still find our product better to drink," the state-run firm's public relations official said on condition of anonymity.

Taisugar debuted its product four years ago.

The state-run company reported nearly NT$300 million in sales last year with

a market share of over 97 percent, he said. The company expects NT$500

million in revenue from the product this year, he added.

To strengthen the impression on the health-conscious, Cerebos has decided to

market the drink under a new sub-brand, XuPei (旭沛), as Brand's is so

closely connected to essence of chicken.

According to Cerebos' survey, Taiwan's health-drink market started to show

rapid expansion in 2003 when SARS hit. The industry has grown by NT$1

billion annually since then to record sales of NT$5.4 billion last year.

While essence of chicken accounts for 40 percent with growth slowing down,

essence of clam has become a new favorite with sales jumping annually by 39

percent and 58 percent, respectively, during 2004 and last year.

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