Food & Beverage

APAC Outlook’s food and beverage section covers the latest trends and innovations in the industry, from plant-based foods to sustainable packaging.

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Latest Food & Beverage Corporate Stories

China 2013 trade passes US$4 trillion

China's annual trade in goods passed the $4 trillion mark for the first time in 2013, official data showed on Friday, confirming its position as the world's biggest trading nation. Exports from the world's second-largest economy rose 7.9 per cent to $2.21 trillion, while imports increased 7.3 per cent to $1.95 trillion, the General Administration of Customs announced. The trade surplus stood at $259.75 billion, up 12.8 per cent from 2012. The country's total trade came to $4.16 trillion, an increase of 7.6 per cent, which was just below the government's target of eight percent. Reports last February said the United States' total trade was lower than China's in 2012, but Customs spokesman Zheng Yuesheng said the change had happened for the first time in 2013 -- although full US data for the year has yet to be released. "It is very likely that China has overtaken the US to become the world's largest trading country," he said. The European Union was China's biggest trading partner, Customs said, followed by the United States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Hong Kong and Japan. Between them the traditional markets of the EU, US and Japan accounted for 33.5 per cent of China's trade, down 1.7 percentage points, indicating that emerging markets' share of business was growing. For the month of December alone, China's trade surplus fell 17.4 per cent to $25.64 billion, Friday's data showed. That fell short of the median $32.2 billion forecast in a survey of 13 economists by The Wall Street Journal. Exports

By Editorial Team

China lands Jade Rabbit rover on moon

China has become only the third country to complete a rover landing - the first for 37 years - on the moon. Its Jade Rabbit rover managed the first "soft landing" since 1976 on Saturday and is on a three-month mission in search of natural resources. Scientists burst into applause as a computer-generated image representing the Chang'e 3 spacecraft carrying the solar-powered robot was seen touching down via screens in Beijing. China has now taken a big step towards becoming a global player in space. Its aim is to put a man on the moon by 2025. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team


Best when fresh CoffeeWORKS is Thailand's leading coffee shop roaster delivering to over 500 outlets throughout the country. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Ben Weaver After working in the U.S. coffee and cola industries during their university days, high school friends Dale Lee and Andrew Stotz decided to launch their own specialty coffee roasting factory in Thailand back in 1995. The plan was to capitalise on the country's booming cafe culture and their company, CoffeeWORKS, was born. Today it is one of the leading fresh coffee roasters in Thailand, as well as a leading importer of espresso equipment and supplier of barista training and consulting services to respected global food and beverage brands operating in the country. The business has performed brilliantly and I'd be absolutely amazed if you haven't enjoyed various CoffeeWORKS roasts and blends at one of the hundreds of coffee shops or hotels it supplies. "For the past few years – and currently too – we have been maintaining 30 percent year-on- year growth," says Lee. "In our hotel channel alone this year we are growing 50 percent year-on-year. In spite of this growth, truly good and authentic Italian standard espresso based coffee drinks have hardly been embraced by the wider population in Thailand." When CoffeeWORKS began in 1995, per capita consumption in Thailand was 500-grams, with 85 percent of that going to instant coffee. Per capita consumption has since increased to 800-grams, but the ratio of instant and fresh coffee is still the same, with fresh coffee only earning 15 percent of

By Editorial Team

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises to buy 75% stake in Domino’s Pizza Japan

Domino's Pizza Enterprises (DPE) has agreed to buy a 75 percent stake in Domino's Pizza Japan from Bain Capital Domino Hong Kong for 12 billion yen. "The acquisition represents an exciting opportunity to leverage our proven track record of successfully growing the Domino's network to deliver shareholder value," said Don Meij, the Australian business' managing director and chief executive. "Japan is a strategic location for DPE's future expansion, providing access to a large market which is well suited to significant new store roll-outs and the relocation of stores to higher traffic locations with improved image and formats." The purchase, which will be funded via a combination of debt and equity financing, is expected to be completed before the end of September 2013. The move came as Domino's announced a net profit of $28.657 million for the 2012/13 financial year, an increase of more than six percent. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team

McDonald’s Thailand

They're loving it Asia Outlook talks to Hester Chew, Chairman of Executive Committee and CEO of McThai, Thailand's sole McDonald's franchisee. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Eleanor Watson McDonald's sells more than 75 hamburgers every second and its famous golden arches are recognised by millions around the globe. The quick service restaurant chain has 34,000 restaurants in 119 countries. What's its secret? McDonald's has mastered the market with localisation. Nowhere is this truer than Thailand, where it has 183 restaurants, serving eight million customers per month. "We do have localised items on the menu," says Hester Chew, Chairman of Executive Committee and CEO of McThai, the sole McDonald's franchisee in the country. "We have items that are specific to Thailand like the Samurai Pork Burger, the Spicy McWings and the Spicy Chicken Teriyaki and Rice. "That is absolutely important; you have to appeal to your market." Although some items are localised, McThai's core products are the same – and of the same quality – as you would find in any McDonald's globally. "We have global supply system. Our French fries are from the U.S., our cheese is from New Zealand and in the last couple of months have been importing beef from Australia. "McDonald's look at the regional supply system to see who has the best ingredients, quality and price to match the product and we work on a system of delivery." Mr Chew has extensive experience in the food service industry and upon joining McThai quickly introduced some new ideas. He knew exactly what he

By Editorial Team

China launches EU wine probe

China has launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into wines imported from the European Union. In a statement on its website, China's Ministry of Commerce said the investigations will probe EU wine subsidies and their impact on the country's wine industry. They are due to last one year, but may be extended by six months, and will abide by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. "The Ministry of Commerce will follow the principles of openness, fairness and transparency, fully respect all parties' legal rights, and make a fair ruling based on objective fact and the relevant laws and regulations," the Ministry said. Tensions between China and the EU have been escalating lately, with the EU imposing an average tariff of 11.8 percent on Chinese solar panel imports. China has become the biggest importer of Bordeaux wines. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team

China manufacturing sector contracts in May

China's manufacturing activity shrank more than first reported in May, HSBC's final purchasing managers' index (PMI) has revealed. The headline number fell to 49.2 from 50.4 in April. This was worse than preliminary 49.6 announced on May 23. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector. It was the first contraction in seven months. Qu Hongbin, Chief Economist, China & Co-Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC, said the PMI "suggests a marginal weakening of manufacturing activities towards the end of May, thanks to deteriorating domestic demand conditions". "With persisting external headwinds, Beijing needs to boost domestic demand to avoid a further deceleration of manufacturing output growth and its negative impact on the labour market. The new leaders should strike a delicate balance between reform and growth," he said. The result was in stark contrast to the Chinese government's PMI result for May, which came in at 50.8, better than April's 50.6, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday. China's economy, the world's second largest, expanded 7.8 per cent in 2012, its worst result in 13 years. HSBC's data has renewed fears that China is slowing down again. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team

Famous Brands enters India with Debonairs Pizza

JSE-listed Famous Brands has announced its expansion into India, with a pilot Debonairs Pizza restaurant set to open in Mumbai in July 2013. In the short-term, five restaurants will be opened in Mumbai, India's main economic hub and its wealthiest city. Famous Brands said Mumbai had the highest gross domestic product of any city in south, west or central Asia and it has appointed a master licence partner in the territory to manage the business. "Entering the Indian market is as much about our partners as it is about the market. They will give us local knowledge advantage which is critical to the sustainability of this venture," said Famous Brands Chief Operating Officer, Darren Hele, in a statement. The Master License agreement has been concluded with family-owned Diwa Hospitality Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of the Parekh Group conglomerate. "Whilst Debonairs Pizza is Africa's biggest pizza brand and the Group is confident of exporting the concept, in-depth research has shown that the model must be relevant from day one, and be re-engineered to fit the Indian market," Hele said. "In this regard, our Debonairs Pizza offering in Mumbai is all about a customised menu – with a strong vegetarian bias; local flavour profiles developed in conjunction with our partners; and innovative product offerings designed to support the cost conscious 'grab-and-go' Mumbai consumer. It is also about a bespoke trading format which factors in that access to retail trading space in high density markets such as this are at a premium. "There are very strong factors driving growth

By Editorial Team