By susan tam

PETALING JAYA: Cerebos Pacific Ltd plans to boost its low penetration rates in the Malaysian Muslim market through the launch of its latest product, Brand’s InnerShine Prune Essence.

Executive vice-president and chief executive officer Dr Lackana Leelayouthayotin said while the presence of its Brand’s products was established more than 40 years ago here, the penetration rate in this particular market was low, at below 20%.

“We feel that there is a lot of potential for growth in this target group. This non-animal-based product will go down well with Muslims. Its taste is also sweet and will appeal to consumers,” she said in an interview recently.

The product, which was launched in Malaysia in mid-April, has been popular, with 96% take-up rate after sampling was conducted, she said. She also said this product was aimed at consumers aged 20 to 39.

Lackana said while the market share for Brand’s Essence of Chicken was high at 80% in Malaysia, the company was embarking on efforts to increase its market share in the Muslim market here.

“This is why we are introducing this product as an alternative for Muslim consumers as well as start educational programmes next year to promote its health benefits,” she said. Lackana said the initial expenditure for advertising and promotion for Brand’s InnerShine Prune Essence was RM1mil, but would be increased based on the good response received in the past two months.

Initially developed for the Thailand market some five years ago, this product would be introduced in Singapore before year-end as Cerebos was confident it would receive similar response among health-conscious consumers, she added.

She said the product was developed after studying feedback from a consumer survey done by AC Nielsen several years ago. “The survey showed that consumers are getting more health-conscious and want a product that was convenient to consume during their busy lifestyles,” she said.

The company emphasised good quality research with S$4mil spent on research alone to date, she said. “This was important to understand the market and ensure that the product really works for our consumers,” she added.

Lackana added that Cerebos would use Malaysia as a launch pad to enter other Muslim markets such as Indonesia and the Middle East.

Last year, group sales totalled some S$600mil.

Lackana also said the company would want to boost Malaysia’s contribution to group sales through this new product.

Currently, Brand’s InnerShine Prune Essence is produced in Cerebos’ Thailand factories but will shift its operations to Malaysian facilities once demand picks up here. Cerebos is listed on the Stock Exchange of Singapore, with a 40% stake held by Perbadanan Nasional Bhd. Its subsidiary, Cerebos (M) Sdn Bhd, owns Brand’s.