Seafood major Thai Union eyes $5.2b revenue by 2025 betting on alternative proteins

Thiraphong Chansiri, President and CEO of Thai Union.

The world’s largest canned tuna producer, Thai Union Group Pcl is targeting 5% annual growth for the next five years to reach 160 billion baht ($5.19 billion) by 2025, betting on alternative proteins and food supplements, its top executive said on Tuesday.

“We are not going after scale, but the emphasis will be on the quality of business,” chief executive Thiraphong Chansiri told a news conference.

“Before, we looked at emerging markets like China and the Middle East, but we were not successful in those markets.”

Thai Union this month will launch its own brand of plant-based meat, OMG Meat, in Thailand and has been selling products to retailers like Tesco Plc in Britain and restaurant operators Minor International Pcl.

“We expect sales of 100 million baht this year and upwards of 1 billion baht within five years,” Thiraphong said.

Its alternative protein products include all meat types including, pork, crab meat and other seafood. Thai Union has also invested in two cell-based protein startups through its $30 million venture fund.

It has also partnered with Thai Beverage to produce nutritional drinks.

Its revenue last year grew for the first time in three years after pandemic-related lockdowns fuelled demand for its products, including pet food after people bought pets, Thiraphong said.

Thai Union booked revenue of 132 billion baht ($4.29 billion) in 2020.

In 2021, it plans capital expenditure of up to 6.5 billion baht, higher than its average of 4 billion baht, in cold storage, supplementary foods and protein ingredients.

The company was also exploring ways to incorporate cannabis and the non-psychoactive ingredient, cannabidiol (CBD) in its products after the Thai government allowed hemp to be used in food and cosmetics. Regulations at present prohibit its use in packaged food.

“We just have a name, ‘Happy Tuna’,” Thiraphong said.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.