The German firm, which has its headquarters in Germany, specialises in the supply of herbal raw materials and herbal and fruit teas. Part of the Nature Network group of companies, it already has branches in France, Poland, Italy, Turkey and the US, as well as representation in other countries.
It decided to establish a subsidiary in Singapore as of January 1 this year because of its proximity to the world’s major tea growing regions of China, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Taiwan, and its status as a business hub.
“Initially it will be our job to coordinate raw material purchasing with a focus on tea and supply chain,” said Tony Laurent, general manager of Martin Bauer Pte Ltd. Green and black tea are expected to be its main focus.
The company recognises that procurement of quality raw materials is one of the main challenges for the food industry – and the situation is constantly changing. It has well-established alliances with suppliers and partners that are hailed as offering greater security.
A representative of the company could not be reached prior to publication of this article for more comment on previous sourcing from Asia.
In the medium term, the new office will also look to consolidate and expand the technical support offered to customers in South East Asia – especially in the beverage, dairy, confectionery and baby food categories, and build sales and marketing in the region.
As well as serving existing customers, Laurent’s brief is to bring more on board in the region, too.
The company is seeing Singapore as a gateway to South East Asia, both because of its strategic location and because of its infrastructure. The aim is to help improve the efficiency and of the supply chain, from the sourcing right through to sales.
While tea has long been a traditional beverage in Asia, other world markets are gaining clout, partly due to the perception of tea as a healthy beverage.
In 2007 market researcher Packaged Facts predicted that the US tea market would reach almost $15bn by 2012, compared to $7.4bn at that time.