KOPIKO, which is known for its world number one coffee extract candy, is making a comeback in the Malaysian market by offering stronger products in the coffee category and expanding its marketing and communication activities

Updated: Saturday October 19, 2013 MYT 8:18:54 AM

Kopiko makes a big comeback



Poo (left) and Winarto Dharmo with some Kopiko products.

KOPIKO, which is known for its world number one coffee extract candy, is making a comeback in the Malaysian market by offering stronger products in the coffee category and expanding its marketing and communication activities. The Indonesia-based brand, once considered one of the important brands in its category but which has been rather quiet in recent years, is focusing more on marketing and advertising promotion activities by pumping in RM22mil for both candy and coffee this year to support its initiatives.“We are aiming to be among the top three coffee players in Malaysia and to expand our market share to 15% by end of 2014 from 5% currently,” says Inbisco Marketing and Sales Sdn Bhd marketing director Poo Soo Yee in an interview.

Poo tells StarBizWeek that Inbisco Marketing and Sales Sdn Bhd is part of the Inbisco worldwide network and that the Kopiko brand has presence in more than 80 countries, including in Europe, India, China, Middle East, and the US.

“We are part of this Inbisco network, and here in Malaysia, we are the exclusive distributor of Mayora (Kopiko manufacturer) products which include candies, coffee, biscuits and chocolate paste,” she says.

Inbisco Marketing and Sales Sdn Bhd, established in Malaysia in 1988, also distributes Kopiko products in Singapore and Brunei.

Mayora, also known as PT Mayora Indah Tbk, is a company listed on Jakarta Stock Exchange since 1990 and it is involved in manufacturing food and beverage products in Indonesia.

Another brand that has a long history in Malaysia that is manufactured by the Mayora group is Choki Choki – chocolate paste combined with cashew nuts.

The primary products manufactured under the Kopiko brand are coffee and candies.

Making its comeback, the Kopiko brand wants to be known as “Your coffee specialist”, says Poo.

According to her, the uniqueness of the Kopiko brand is from Mayora expertise in its coffee know-how because of the company involves with end-to-end process combining with its research and development efforts.

“Most companies buy coffee from suppliers and make the mix, but Mayora produces the coffee itself; it owns coffee plantations and is also involved in the harvesting, roasting, grinding, testing, mixing and product development and selling products,” says Inbisco marketing manager Harry Winarto Dharmo.

“That is why we are able to control the quality of the coffee taste by handpicking the best coffee cherries, and calling ourselves the coffee specialist is about our understanding of the consumers to make the perfect blend by considering attributes such as aroma, taste, flavour and creaminess,” he adds. “Everyone has his or her own way to enjoy coffee”.

Currently, there are three products introduced in Malaysia under Kopiko coffee, namely are “Strong and rich coffee”, “Brown coffee with natural palm sugar” and its latest “Low acid coffee (LA coffee)”.

LA coffee, introduced in August this year, is made from a blend of Arabica coffee bean to provide the aroma and Robusta coffee bean to give the best coffee taste to the mix.

“LA coffee differentiates us from the other brands; it requires a certain temperature level during the roasting process to produce the low acidity condition to make it easier on the stomach,” Poo says.

She explains that certain coffee has high acid levels that could cause heartburn or bloated stomach for some people.

“A lot of people are not really aware of high acid levels causing this kind of effect. Now everyone can enjoy coffee.”

“The LA coffee is an altogether new segment in the coffee category.

“People are aware of white coffee, three-in-one, and black coffee, but not low-acid coffee.

“We’ve received tremendous positive response from the consumers, especially from the coffee lovers who certainly would like to have coffee that are gentle for the stomach,” she says.

Before LA coffee entered the Malaysian market, Poo says, research firm Millward Brown ran a taste test in May and the LA coffee scores eight likes out of ten or 81% in terms of aroma, coffee strength, colour and creaminess, and overall product liking.

“It’s like a blind taste test; after that we did one-to-one interviews,” she says.

Poo notes that Kopiko has been experiencing double-digit growth for the past five years, mainly contributed by the expansion of the distribution channel both in the peninsula and east Malaysia.

“To date, we have 20 distributors who are distributing our products to more than 10,000 retail outlets, not including the modern trade outlets,” says Winarto Dharmo.

He highlights that over the years, the Kopiko brand has been growing in sales from the support of its distribution channels and that the next level of growth by increasing its marketing and communication activities is done in a timely manner.

“We have been quiet before because we were building our distribution channels and now that we have a strong platform, we are looking to move to the next level by engaging with customers and also to strengthen our distribution,” he explains.

Poo notes that Inbisco is looking at multi-pronged approach in media platforms, including newspaper, television and radio focusing on the LA Coffee product.

“We are also going to have some on-the-ground work by doing promotional activities in supermarkets and universities to talk with our customers and to expand our brand to the younger generation,” she says, citing that it is important to build a “new generation of coffee lovers”.

She portrays Kopiko as a brand for all market segments especially and that Inbisco is targeting to introduce more Kopiko products and bring other Mayora products to the Malaysian market.

“We have some product plans in the pipeline, but we are here to provide quality products to consumers instead of quantity. Actualy, it took almost 1½ years of research and development activity to come out with the low acid coffee,” she points out.

Meanwhile, Winarto Dharmo explains that in Singapore and Brunei, the marketing and promotional activities are done diferrently as the company is using a nationwide approach there.

“It is more complex in Malaysia due to the population and geographical size,” he says, adding that Malaysians prefer three-in-one mix coffee.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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