Some consider it a condiment; others call it a side dish. Either way, chili paste is an undeniable staple in Thai pantries.
Through a series of product development stages, Baan Phet Chili Paste has been elevated into a commercial product that has not only earned loyal customers in Thailand and the neighboring countries but also become a source of livelihood for many communities in Rayong.
This product is the brainchild of the Hua Namtok Community Enterprise in Rayong, led by Saowalee ‘Lek’ Trailak.
Previously, the chili paste was already enjoying some popularity among regular patrons. However, everything changed when Chemicals Business, SCG employees chanced upon the condiment. As the chilli paste could serve as both a cooking ingredient and a perfect dip for boiled vegetables, the SCG team saw how it could be further developed and break into a larger market.
“Back in 2015, we gave our chili paste to the SCG employees who visited our community. Because they loved our product and recommended it to others, we started to see a rise in sales. However, one of the weaknesses of our product was that it did not keep well. So, SCG encouraged us to join ITAP and further develop our chili paste so that it could last longer,” said Saowalee, in her remark on SCG’s assistance.
In 2016, the Hua Namtok Community Enterprise participated in the Innovation and Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) by the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and was given a grant for product development, one half from the government and the other from SCG. With this grant, the Hua Namtok Community Enterprise improved its recipe and developed the production and the packaging, successfully lengthening the shelf life of the chili paste to six months.
In addition, SCG also assisted the community enterprise in bringing its factory up to standards, so that it could apply for a FDA certificate, as well as helped it in the process of obtaining the certificate. SCG also lent the community a hand with the logo design, brand creation, and distribution channels.
“SCG has actively helped us. Without the SCG team, we have no idea how we would ever get to where we are. Thanks to SCG, we have had the opportunities to showcase our chili paste in a number of trade shows, such as the OTOP Fair in Bangkok and the Thai Product Expo in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This has allowed us to obtain insights into our customers, which we can draw on to further improve the taste and the packaging of our chili paste,” added Saowalee.
In just a few years, the sales have grown exponentially – a phenomenon that the community and all parties involved are rightfully proud of. Despite their success, the community and its partners have continued to improve Baan Phet Chili Paste to better meet the needs of the customers. The community has also aimed to apply for an OTOP product certificate, which will help put its products in more stores and shopping malls, earning the group additional distribution channels.
This close collaboration of all parties has enabled Baan Phet Chili Paste not only to win over customers but also generate income for the community, improving the lives of the community members and contributing to the economy of the country as a whole.