Yoma to bring Auntie Anne’s pretzels to Myanmar
SINGAPORE-listed Yoma Strategic inked a franchise deal with US Focus Brands to bring Auntie Anne’s soft pretzels brand to Myanmar, opening the first outlet in Yangon in the coming months. Myanmar is currently among the last frontier markets in ASEAN which the brand has not established a presence.
Auntie Anne’s, founded in 1988, is the world’s largest handrolled soft pretzel franchise, being known for its bakery products. The companies in a joint release said “more ambitious expansion planned over the next five years” following the first store.
Myanmar is set to be the latest addition for the American soft pretzel franchise. Auntie Anne’s has 1,800 outlets across 30 countries and has established a strong presence in the ASEAN region, including Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Singapore.
Despite the government’s disappointing handling of the economy and falling investor confidence, recent years have seen international brands coming in and expanding their presence in Myanmar to tap into the growing consumer market. In September, North Carolina-headquartered Krispy Kreme launched its first Myanmar store, offering doughnuts and coffee. Meanwhile, US-based KFC, which is also operated by Yoma, has recently expanded into Bago and Sagaing regions, bringing the total number of Myanmar’s KFC outlets to 26.
Yoma stated that its food and beverage business is targeting the shifting consumption patterns and the rising discretionary disposable income of the country’s growing middle class, a group forecasted to reach 10 million by 2022.
Melvyn Pun, CEO of Yoma Strategic, said the company sees “considerable growth” in the domestic market for freshly baked goods.
“While many street vendors do offer traditional Myanmar alternatives, the addition of an iconic international brand will only enrich the local foodscape.”
Auntie Anne’s will be joining KFC and Little Sheep Hotpot in Yoma’s food and beverage franchise portfolio. The first franchise of Little Sheep is expected to open by the end of this year.
Mr Pun added that his firm aims to have six international and local brands across 125 outlets by the financial year 202324.