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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                7  September 2011

Rice goes cosmetic

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Although Thailand is known as the world's top rice exporter, it ships mostly unprocessed grain sold in tonnes. The kingdom would generate more income with rice sold in grammes.

With support from the National Innovation Agency (NIA), Thai Products Innovation Co Ltd has cooperated with Japanese cosmetics manufacturer Picaso Naturals Laboratory, a subsidiary of Picaso Cosmetic Laboratory Ltd, to produce pressed facial powder, adding to the value of Thai jasmine rice.

The company has replaced a main ingredient in pressed powder, talcum, with processed jasmine rice flour to create talcum-free pressed powder under the Oryze brand.

The company's CEO, Yuwadee Boonkrong, sees potential in making a product from natural ingredients to stand out from the general facial powder market. The general market was estimated to be worth 3.5 billion baht in 2010, 70 percent of which was from pressed foundation powder and the rest from loose powder.

The NIA began the project to use rice flour as an ingredient in cosmetics four years ago. It earlier supported Natural Care Co Ltd to produce baby powder from rice flour. The production process, which involves removing the moisture content from the flour while ensuring a no-stick quality, is quite complicated.

Ms Yuwadee said cooperation with a Japanese company with expertise in cosmetic production would reassure customers about the quality of the product.

"This is the first time that a Thai company has hired a Japanese company to produce the product," she said. "We want to sell it under the concept of made in Japan, innovated in Thailand."

Oryze powder from jasmine rice will be sold for 1,250 baht in the Thai market and for about double that price overseas. The company plans to reach households quickly using TV Direct to market the product.

"The price is quite high when compared with leading brands in local markets, but we want to establish the value of Thai products and Thai brands," Ms Yuwadee said.

The company aims for sales of 600 million baht in the first year of marketing both domestically and overseas.




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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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