Frito-Lay launches prawn snacks in Thailand

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BANGKOK -- Thailand's booming market for prawn crackers has a new player Munchos, from Frito-Lay (Thailand). The snacks made their debut this week in a market predicted to expand by 20% to $19 million this year.

This is the company's first global brand to be launched initially in Asia, according to Apirak Kosayothin, manag ing director of Frito-Lay (Thailand).

The rapid expansion of the market is the major reason Frito-Lay's parent company, PepsiCo Foods International, selected Thailand for the launch of Munchos. They will be offered next in Shanghai and then in other Asian markets.

The snacks - in "real prawn" and tom yum kung flavors - were created by Frito-Lay (Thailand) and its sister company in China. "Tom yum kung" is Thailand's spicy-and-sour shrimp soup, a feature of virtually all Thai restau rants in other countries and of course thousands of them in Thailand.

"Prawn crackers were born in Asia," says Mr. Apirak. "There is no such fla vor developed in the West."

The company has budgeted $750,000 to promote Munchos over the next four months. Dentsu, Young & Rubicam handles.

Mr. Apirak adds that Lay's potato chips have been a great success in Thailand. He notes that among all Frito-Lay opera tions in Asia, the Thai company last year became the third-largest in all sales, behind Australia and South Korea.

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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