Lam Soon: Buruh will cook up good sales in Philippines

This is written by my colleague Roziana Hamsawi.

MANILA: LAM Soon Edible Oils Sdn Bhd expects its edible oil brand, Buruh, which just entered the Philippines market yesterday, to generate encouraging sales in the first year, as it banks on the growing popularity of palm oil here.

"We are confident our cooking oil will do well, registering double-digit growth as the Philippines consumers are becoming more discerning when it comes to choosing their cooking oil," said Lam Soon general manager for export division Siew Yuen Heng.

Speaking to Business Times after the launch of the product by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok at the S&R shopping store here yesterday, he said Buruh would be the only cooking oil from Malaysia being sold at S&R outlets, competing with other local brands.

"Since we first came here with our household and personal care products back in 1998, the number of Lam Soon products being sold in the Philippines has grown and our best-selling product is our powder detergent, Bio Zip," he said.

Siew added that the Philippines is an increasingly important export market for Lam Soon and he is confident that more Lam Soon products will enter the market in years to come. "Our good relationship with our distributor S&R will be the catalyst for our growth here," he said, declining to provide an estimate of the growth the company is targeting.

S&R is an upscale membership shopping store with a bulk of its products from the US. It has six outlets across the Philippines and over 180,000 members.

Siew said just as Buruh cooking oil is one of Malaysia's trusted edible oil brands, Lam Soon aims to make it a favourite here too. "Buruh Cooking Oil has been the consecutive winner of Reader's Digest Trusted Brand (Gold award) since 2006 and with its halal certification, ISO9001 and HACCP recognition, we are committed towards food safety, quality and environmental protection," he said.

S&R owner Susan Co, meanwhile, said Lam Soon products sold in her stores are selling well because of their quality and attractive packaging. "We have no doubts that this Buruh cooking oil, which is suitable for Asian cooking, especially for deep-frying multiple times will do well," she said.

Meanwhile, Dompok in his speech at the launch said Malaysia is expected to produce 19 million tonnes of crude palm oil this year and 18 million tonnes will be for the export market.

He said Malaysia has an abundant supply to meet the requirements of international markets and the Philippines, he added, is more than welcomed to increase their import. Palm oil, added Dompok, not only produces the least expensive vegetable oil, it is also the most versatile oil that can be used in various food applications and in non-food products such as oleochemicals, soaps and biodiesel.

Also present at the launch yesterday were Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines Datuk Seri Ibrahim Saad, Malaysian Palm Oil Council chairman Datuk Lee Yeow Chor and chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron.

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