Creating Sustainable Thai Smiles
Thailand may be known as the ‘Land of Smiles’ but more work is needed when it comes to oral care in the country.
Jordan wants to not only help support future generations of Thai smiles but make sure it is done sustainably. Jordan dental products have been available in Thailand since 1978. Back then, an individual importer had taken it upon his or herself to sell them in the country. Today, the Orkla-owned company has a presence throughout the Kingdom having focused on developing its brand and reach over the past few years.
“Jordan is currently available in well over 2,000 retail outlets in Thailand including Tops, Lotus’s, and numerous baby stores and dental clinics,” Mr Bjorn Kruizenga, Asia Pacific General Manager at Jordan, states. “Additionally, the brand has expanded its online presence having opened official stores on Lazada and Shopee as we embrace e-commerce.” The way people are buying dental products isn’t the only shift worth noting. The oral care industry continues to see strong growth which Mr Kruizenga attributes to three major trends.
“Firstly, there has been increasing awareness when it comes to children’s oral care. Second, adults are more aware of specialisation as it relates to dental health, including an ageing population in Thailand that has its own unique oral care needs. Finally, there is a move towards more sustainable products that are good for you and good for the planet. We are monitoring and responding to all three trends,” Mr Kruizenga explains. As the largest oral care market in Southeast Asia, Jordan sees potential to grow in Thailand. According to Mr Kruizenga, the company is targeting a five percent share of the country’s oral care market and will look to reach its goal through specialisation. This requires a different approach from the strategies its competitors are currently pursuing.
“Our focus isn’t on quantity. We are looking to establish key focus areas. It is important to support the underserved segments of Thailand because this is where dental care is needed most,” Mr Kruizenga says. “Ultimately, the larger companies aren’t really involved in these areas. For example, they don’t develop child-focused dental care. Instead, they will adapt what they currently produce and market it to children.”
Care for Kids
Early Childhood Caries (ECC), the presence of more than one decayed (cavitated or non cavitated lesions), missing (due to decay), or filled tooth, is extremely prevalent in Thailand. Research shows 53 percent of children three and under have at least one cavity with this number jumping to 76 percent by the age of five. Jordan wants to be a leader in the fight against ECC. “We take children’s oral care seriously. Education on the subject is vital. Our company organises campaigns with schools and tries to educate both kids and parents about the need for good dental care. We are also working with moms and social media influencers to promote this message,” Mr Kruizenga details. “We’re partnering with dentists in Thailand as well. Our goal is to help everyone understand just how important this is. Creating a better understanding starts with building awareness among all stakeholders.”
In addition to this, there are some common misconceptions about childhood dental health care. For instance, many people may not know that children have different oral health needs from adults. Not only that, but each age group also has unique requirements. Understanding that, Jordan develops products tailored exclusively to children based on their age. “We put in the time and effort to understand the needs and challenges of the groups we serve. When it comes to children’s dental care, we strive to develop products that are suitable for different age groups. Our goal is to make oral care both easy and fun,” Mr Kruizenga points out.
Of course, having the best products is irrelevant if they can’t get into the hands of children. To that end, the company continues to expand its reach. “It is important for Jordan products to be widely available. One of our goals is to bring down the number of kids in Thailand with ECC issues,” Mr Kruizenga notes. “People must have easy access to Jordan products. But they also need to know who we are and what makes us a leader when it comes to children’s oral care.”
The Jordan Green Clean line has earned acknowledgment for its sustainability. For example, Green Clean toothbrushes are made from 100 percent recycled plastic in the handle, bristles from bio-based materials and 100 percent recycled cardboard packaging. Mr Kruizenga adds Green Clean is the company’s ambassador sustainable range, but Jordan is introducing more sustainable improvements across the entire range of products.
“Sustainability is a top priority for us. We are part of the Orkla group which is the fourth most sustainable company in Norway. We have set internal targets aligned with the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals, including making 100 percent of our packaging material either recycled or recyclable by 2025,” Mr Kruizenga points out. One of Jordan’s biggest green milestones in 2021 was having replaced 110,000 kilograms of virgin plastics with recycled plastics. Mr Kruizenga puts this total into perspective by noting that’s roughly the size of 22 African elephants. And while the figure is impressive, more work is needed to drive awareness of sustainability in Thailand.
“Another one of our aims is to become a leader in sustainable oral care in Thailand. This is actually more challenging than many people realise,” Mr Kruizenga states. “There is a perception that sustainable products aren’t as good, are more expensive or have other issues when compared to regular products. We must change this perception and that can only be done through awareness. All our latest sustainable oral care products are at least on par in terms of quality compared to regular benchmarks. Not only that, their impact on the environment is far less.”
The company is seeing some positive momentum in this regard. Both younger buyers and some more progressive retailers already understand the need, as well as the benefits, and are gravitating towards more environmentally friendly products. “Generation Z and Millennial buyers are aware of why they should use sustainable oral care products and are making the switch,” Mr Kruizenga reports. “Additionally, retailers across Thailand are seriously looking at sustainable oral care products as demand shifts and they must meet their own sustainability targets.”
More work is needed, however. While dental care companies either ignore sustainable oral care products or rely on gimmicks, Jordan’s approach to sustainability is contributing to a circular economy by reusing what already has been created to lessen the burden on waste. The company’s focus is on recycled, recyclable, re-use, waterless, and renewable materials as opposed to creating new products from virgin natural materials. That is why Jordan did not introduce a new range of bamboo toothbrushes. “We are utilising multiple methods to build awareness for sustainable oral care in Thailand. These efforts include engaging thought leaders, partnering with influencers, and launching new initiatives to increase knowledge,” Mr Kruizenga says. “COVID-19 has impacted plans to a certain extent, and we have had to rely on mostly digital engagement, but the company is ready to scale these back up once the situation improves.”
Mr Kruizenga notes that much like with children’s oral care, there aren’t many oral health brands currently pursuing sustainability in Thailand. With Jordan actively developing products with this in mind, the public can be confident they are using something as good, if not better than traditional dental care products, and have a good conscience about their choice of products too. Thailand may also hold the key to acceptance of sustainable oral care products throughout Southeast Asia. Not only is it the largest single dental health market in the region, but the country tends to be where trends first gain a foothold.
“One thing we have learned is that Thailand is a trendsetter in the region. Many trends, mainly from Japan and South Korea become localised in Thailand and then make their way to Malaysia, Indonesia, and elsewhere,” Mr Kruizenga states. “If people in Thailand embrace sustainable oral care products and children’s dental care, then we will likely see their acceptance increase in nearby countries”.
- Jordan dental products have been available in Thailand since 1978
- The company opened official stores on Lazada and Shopee this year in a bid to focus on e-commerce
- Jordan Green Clean toothbrushes are made from 100 percent recycled plastic in the handle
- In Thailand, 53 percent of children three and under have at least one cavity
- Jordan develops products tailored exclusively to children based on their age
For other interesting articles from our members, please visit our website.