Victorian baby food maker Baby Royale has gained Malaysian distribution, expected to eventually be worth $20 million a year.
Baby Royale – which has a strong export market in the Middle East with its premium halal products – will be stocked in the supermarket chains Tesco, Cold Storage and Giant supermarket in Malaysia.
"The ASEAN region we see as being 50 percent of our business within five years. And longer-term, we see even bigger opportunities in the region," Adam Moore, the company’s managing director, told The Australian.
The announcement is being reported in terms of the opportunities available to food manufacturers in Malaysia, frequently overlooked in Asian Century conversations, which are usually focussed on China.
“I think the focus for food is shifting beyond the China centric view of Asia,” said Moore.
"There are a lot less barriers to entry and I think we should be taking more advantage of it."
Business Spectator reports that Baby Royale spent two years researching the Malaysian expansion, then a further year in the country with advisory group DKSH Malaysia working on a product range tailored to suit the local market.
“These markets have evolved now, it’s more than ‘This product works really well in Australia, we’d like to sell some excess stock in Malaysia’,” Moore told the Spectator.
“That doesn’t work any more – you’ve got to invest in the local scene and understand it. For us, that’s where the clean, green positioning is really important. That’s what consumers in this segment expect.”
Malaysia has fewer cultural language and cultural barriers than China, and Australian companies have the benefit of a Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which began at the start of the year and removed most of tariffs on Australian food exports.