NI André Cheong, MD of Manning Impex, told BakeryandSnacks he believes the developer of the snack, Aitthipat Kulapongvanich, has not only brought seaweed snacking up to date with Tao Kae Noi Thai snacks, “but has actually made it its own snacking category”.
The crispy seaweed snacks have made an impression on the local Asian market since launching in 2004, and Cheong expects a similar impact on the UK market.
“The British embrace international food and flavors,” he said.
The company was exhibiting at IFE 2017, held in London at the end of March, showcasing a tempura battered seaweed snack in various flavors, including Classic, Hot & Spicy and Tom Yum Goong.
Gateway to flavors of the East
“Manning Impex has been the UK’s and Ireland’s gateway to the world of exotic foods from South East Asia for 30 years,” said Cheong.
The company was set up in 1987 by Cheong’s parents and today imports more than 1,100 product lines sourced from 45 sole agencies from countries including Thailand, The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.
Five years ago, leadership of the company reverted to Cheong and his brother.
“Having spent 25 years in food retail and then coming into the wholesale trade gave me a good perspective in understand what customers are looking for,” he said, noting the company’s development strategy is centered on increasing brand awareness.