The surprising Coles product that is a big hit in Asia: 'The Australian way'

The supermarket giant is expanding its global footprint.

A globetrotting shopper has surprised Aussies by revealing that a chain of upscale supermarkets in Malaysia stocks a range of Coles brand products including drinking chocolate, which is considered something of a delicacy in the country.

Australians were tickled to see a photo of hot chocolate tins lined up on a shelf at Jaya Grocer in Kuala Lumpur, displayed behind a sign that bares the Coles logo and encourages customers to "explore the Australian way". "Perspective I guess," responded one amused Aussie on social media.

Coles hot chocolate displayed on shelf in Malaysian supermarket
Coles hot chocolate is a hit in Malaysia and Singapore. Source: Reddit

"Drinking chocolates aren't a thing in our part of the world. We do have Milo but they are way different from the Milo you guys have in Australia," revealed the customer who shared the pic online. He added that the item is also stocked in Singapore supermarkets, where it's a bit "pricier".

Not just Malaysia and Singapore

Coles' General Manager of Exports and Fresh Food, Will Mulholland, says the retailer has been providing products to Asia for a long time. "Coles has been exporting high-quality Australian products for 25 years to more than 40 markets," he told Yahoo News.

"Our mission is to inspire customers and deliver brands and products that we are proud of. We strive to understand and meet the preferences and tastes of consumers in Malaysia and other international markets.

"Our products are available to West Malaysian consumers exclusively through supermarket brand Jaya Grocer and online delivery platform GrabMart," Mr Mulholland explained.

"Currently, Jaya Grocer stocks around 200 Coles brands. As well as the drinking chocolate, other popular Coles own brand products include Australian cheese, UHT milk, honey and rice crackers, right through to our delicious Coles Ultimate Choc Chip Cookies. Coles drinking chocolate is one of the Top 10 best selling Coles products for Jaya Grocer in Malaysia."

Storefront of Jaya Grocer in Malaysia.
Coles drinking chocolate is one of the Top 10 best selling Coles products for Jaya Grocer in Malaysia. Source: Getty

Coles expands international presence

Just this week, Coles has announced a major Malaysian expansion, breaking into the elusive east of the country for the very first time. Less populous than Peninsula Malaysia in the west, East Malaysia shares a land border with both Indonesia and Brunei, and is home to 5 million people.

The significant new international expansion, enabled through a partnership with premium local grocer Everrise, will result in more than 150 Coles own-brand products, including drinking chocolate, hitting East Malaysian shelves over the coming months.

Rival player Woolies, who previously operated throughout Malaysia, opted to wind down its export business Woolworths International earlier this year, citing a shaky recovery from Covid-19, supply chain disruptions and the Ukraine war.

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