MALAYSIA

 
Kawan Food plans regional, global expansion

Once a small player, Kawan Food Bhd has now looked to the regional as well as the global market for its growth.
This Malaysian frozen food manufacturer is optimistic of its growth after the completion of its new manufacturing plant in Pulau Indah, Klang which had earlier experienced serious delay in construction. This plant took 4 years to complete.
The RM200 million (US$48 million) Pulau Indah facility has at least 3 times the production capacity of its older factories in making paratha and chapati, said Timothy Tan, Managing Director of Kawan Food. This translates to a potential revenue of RM360 million (US$86.3 million) from paratha and chapati production compared with RM120 million (US$28.8 million) in 2017.
Frozen paratha and chapati are Kawan Food’s most sellable products, contributing about 60% to its total revenue. The remaining 40% comes from a variety of frozen products like vegetables, spring roll pastry and glutinous rice balls.
Kawan products, especially its frozen paratha and chapati, have a large international market, considering that exports accounted for 61% of its total revenue. The US is the company’s largest export market contributing 44% to its total export revenue. Timothy added that Kawan plans to catch up in this market after sorting the problem it earlier faced with its US distributor. The company will slowly increase the export of some of its new products to the mainstream US market, starting with the food services industry followed by the retail outlets.
Kawan will also be coming up with ‘fresh-frozen’ products. This includes parathas which are cooked further to increase convenience to its customers as they only need to re-heat the products. The fresh-frozen parathas are shipped frozen and then put into chillers to sell. Their shelf life ranges from 2 to 4 weeks in the chiller. Kawan Food has also included snack or finger foods in its portfolio. These are currently available in the domestic food services industry and will hit the retail outlets early next year.
Timothy added that one product which has gained traction over the last few years is its ‘tortilla wraps’. It is very popular in the China market. He claimed that the export numbers grew from 19,777 cartons in 2016 to 129,320 cartons this September 2018.
Kawan is also planning to venture into e-commerce by the end of 2018.