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Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd.
Company typePublic company
SEHK345
IndustryFood & Drinks
Founded3 April 1940; 84 years ago (1940-04-03)
Headquarters,
Hong Kong
Key people
Roberto Guidetti (CEO)[1]
Productsplant milk, tofu, beverages
Websitevitasoy.com
Vitasoy International Holdings Limited
Traditional Chinese維他奶國際集團有限公司
Simplified Chinese维他奶国际集团有限公司
Vitasoy
Traditional Chinese維他奶
Simplified Chinese维他奶
Head office

Vitasoy (Chinese: 維他奶) is a Hong Kong beverage company. It hosts a brand of beverages and desserts named Vita. Founded in 1940, it now operates under the Vitasoy International Holdings Limited. Its headquarters are in Tuen Mun, New Territories, Hong Kong.[2]

Vitasoy products were centred on the high-protein soy milk drink that the company first produced. Over the years the company expanded into a wider variety of beverages. Some of them (such as fruit juice, milk, tea, soft drinks, water, and tofu) were given the derivative brand name "Vita".

Vitaland Services Limited[3] was founded in 1991. It specialises in the operation of the tuck shops in Hong Kong primary and secondary schools and the canteen business. "Vitasoy" also established "Hong Kong Gourmet"[4] in 2001 to provide catering services to primary and secondary schools, and meetings.

History

Founder

Vitasoy was founded by Dr. Lo Kwee-seong (1910–1995)[5] on 9 March 1940 in Hong Kong with door-to-door delivery of soy milk, selected as a product because many Chinese people are lactose intolerant.[6] The company ceased operations from 1941 to 1945 during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. It re-emerged after the war ended.

The soy milk was first delivered to people's homes on bicycle, but then began selling through retail outlets. By 1950, with sales increasing, Vitasoy established a new factory. In 1953, it adopted a sterilisation technology enabling the drinks to be stored without refrigeration. In 1975, Vitasoy became the first Hong Kong company to introduce Tetra Pak packaging technology for drinks production. This involves UHT (ultra-heat treatment) sterilisation of the product and packaging in aseptic cartons so the drink could be kept for months without refrigeration.[7]

Vitasoy started to expand into overseas markets in the 80s and 90s. Yvonne Lo, the daughter of Dr. Kwee Seong Lo, introduced their soy milks to the U.S. and Canada (Yvonne graduated from the University of Toronto and worked as city planner there for six years) in 1979-1980. Vitasoy's North American first head office opened in San Francisco in 1979 as a joint venture with Yvonne's Soy Bean Products Company NA Inc. before becoming subsidiary Vitasoy USA in 1982. With acquisition of Nasoya head office moved to Ayer, Massachusetts, in 1998. With the divesting of Nasoya in 2016, Vitasoy moved to a small office in Woburn, Massachusetts, with no production facilities in North America. In 2018 Vitasoy USA became Vitasoy North America LLC and relocated to Toronto with Woburn responsible for US market only.

Vitasoy have seen their revenue double in the past decade and reaching to almost a billion US dollars, where China (including Hong Kong) accounts for more than 80% of total sales, with the rest of the revenue coming from markets in Australia, Singapore, Philippines and additional exports going to more than 40 nations.[8][9]

Development of other brands

In 1976, Vitasoy launched a series of juice drinks, and subsequently launched lemon tea, chrysanthemum tea and other drinks in 1978 and 1979.

In 1994, the firm established a new factory in Shenzhen City as the first Hong Kong foreign plant. Four years later, it established new factories in Shanghai and Ayer, Massachusetts in the United States. In 2001, it opened a manufacturing plant in Australia. In 2008, it acquired Unicurd Food Co. (Private) Ltd., a tofu manufacturing company in Singapore. Vitasoy's plants in Foshan and Wuhan, Mainland China were opened in 2011 and 2016 respectively. In 2016, Vitasoy divested certain assets of its North American operation (Nasoya, Azumaya and San Sui lines). Vitasoy USA continues its sales and distribution of Asian import beverage business in North America.[10] Vitasoy drinks can also be purchased in the European Union and United Kingdom through local supermarket chains.

Controversy

Main article: 1 July police stabbing

In July 2021, Vitasoy became a target of a boycott in Mainland China. Several days prior, a Vitasoy employee had randomly stabbed a Hong Kong police officer from behind, causing a 10 cm deep wound that reached the victim's lungs. The perpetrator also stabbed himself and died afterwards. The following day, certain Vitasoy employees had shared a memo calling the death of their employee unfortunate and offered condolences to his family. The memo however caused significant backlash in Mainland China. The share price of Vitasoy at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange plummeted 12% on Monday 5 July 2021, the first trading day after the memo went viral on social media.[11][12]

Senior Leadership

List of chairmen

  1. Lo Kwee-seong (1940–1994)
  2. Winston Lo Yau-lai (since 1994)

List of CEOs

  1. Winston Lo Yau-lai (1978–2000)
  2. Larry Eisentrager (2007–2013)
  3. Roberto Guidetti (since 2014)

Products

Vitasoy beverages are packed in paper cartons, PET bottles, glass bottles and cans.

Vitasoy soy drinks and tofu are produced in a variety of flavours. The company also produces a range of non-soy plant milks.[13]

Vitasoy also offers juices, coffee, teas, and water.[14][15]

Facilities/Offices

China/Asia

Oceania

North America

Since sale of Nasoya North America market is now supplied from Hong Kong.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Annual Report FY2016/2017" (PDF). HKEXnews.
  2. ^ "Contact Us." Vitasoy. Retrieved 10 November 2014. "Address : 1 Kin Wong Street, Tuen Mun, New Territories, Hong Kong" – Address in Chinese: "地址 : 香港新界屯門建旺街1號"
  3. ^ Vitaland Service Limited. (n.d.). Company Background.
  4. ^ Hong Kong Gourmet Limited. (n.d.). Company Profile. Retrieved from
  5. ^ "Obituaries – Dr. Kwee Seong Lo". Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society Volume 58. 1993–1994. The Oriental Ceramic Society. 1995. Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  6. ^ "History of Vitasoy". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  7. ^ "What Investor Must Know About Vitasoy International Holdings Limited". 25 February 2020.
  8. ^ Marquis, Christopher. "How Vitasoy Is Driving The Plant-Based Sector In Asia". Forbes. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Soy milk has made this family a $2b fortune". Australian Financial Review. 5 June 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  10. ^ "DISPOSAL OF CERTAIN ASSETS OF NORTH AMERICAN OPERATION" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Hong Kong drinks company Vitasoy faces China netizen calls for boycott". Reuters. 4 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  12. ^ "Shares in Hong Kong's Vitasoy plunge after memo prompts boycott calls in China". Reuters. 5 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Vitasoy products". Vitasoy Australia. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  14. ^ "VitaVitasoy". Archived from the original on 6 July 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Vita Pure destilled water".
  16. ^ "Dairy and Drinks - Bega Cheese". Bega Dairy & Drinks. 3 July 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Eugene Lye, President & CEO, Vitasoy North America Inc".