PRASIT BOONDOUNGPRASERT, Charoen Pokphand Foods (Plc)’s chief operating officer for chicken business and international trade, talks business with Feed & Livestock on key issues shaping future growth, especially managing customer satisfaction and potential disruptions in the intermediate term.
What is your forecast for 2019?
Next year, CPF’s broiler chicken production is forecast to achieve 8.3 million birds per week, up by 5%. Of the total, exports account for 6.4 million birds, with the rest going to the domestic market.
Thailand’s total broiler chicken produc- tion in 2018 is estimated to reach 31 mil- lion birds per week, with 27-28 million birds exported.
What are the key concerns of customers?
Food producers have to find solutions to meet changing market demand, particularly food innovation for healthier choices. Another challenge is to feed the growing population and the elderly. Those two factors have prompted CPF to focus more on food safety, nutrition, packaging, and distribution.
In addition, CPF is interested in quality ingredients and the health-conscious trend which demands low sodium, low sugar, low cholesterol, and reduced trans fats, for example. So, the company has moved forward to develop safer meat for nutrition-rich foods to achieve the goal of “food as medicine.” Moreover, environmental and sustainability factors are also key interests for consumers, and producers need to jointly participate.
CPF has implemented new food and animal policies such as animal welfare, anti- microbial restrictions, SHE-En (Safety, Health, Environment and Energy), and labour rights in accordance with UNGC guidelines throughout the supply chain. Particularly, animal welfare and anti-microbial policies that allow animals to live stress-free and healthier lives have the added benefit of reducing the need for antibiotic and medical treatments. Moreover, CPF also encourages all suppliers to apply international standards in their supply chains to adapt to the changing market.
What are CPF’s strategies for balancing profit and customer satisfaction?
As a leading agro-industrial and food conglomerate with the vision “Kitchen of the World,” CPF recognizes that we have a direct responsibility to our customers, the economy, society and the environment. The company targets not only sustainable growth, but also being a good corporate citizen.
CPF has designed a productivity strategy to improve cost structures and synergy management in its internal processes. This will help us develop competitive pricing and offer high quality services while increasing customer value. For instance, the recent launch of “Benja Chicken,” a super-premium chicken raised on brown rice, is aimed at health-conscious customers who seek healthier choices in their food.
Have customer expectations changed in the past five years?
Five years ago, health consciousness was just emerging as a new trend. But now, consumers are not only concerned about their own health, but also social and environmental impacts, such as human rights, living standards, and global warming. CPF has long operated its business in accordance with various global standards such as ISO, HACCP, WHO, Codex, UN Food Standards as well as UNGC standards to guarantee food safety. Moreover, the company has undertaken DJSI and FTSE4 certifications for doing business in a sustainable way and good corporate governance practices.
Do you see vegan and lab-grown “meat” affecting your business?
There has been no impact on the company. CPF concentrates its research and development efforts on producing quality food and innovative products using bio-technology. Vegan and artificial meat are interesting to us, but we have to consider the high product cost as well.