In ASEAN Thailand is the second-largest economy and a significant tourist destination globally. This consumer-driven and the dynamic market is growing its demand for imported food and beverages, offering several opportunities for overseas exporters.
Due to urbanization in Thailand over the last few decades, the increase in economic growth has resulted to an increase in demand for higher-value fresh and processed products amongst the highly-educated, middle and upper-income population in Thailand. Health consideration, rather than price, is becoming a key purchasing factor in the people of Thailand (especially in Bangkok). The metropolitan area in Bangkok remains Thailand’s largest consumer-driven market but increased tourism and higher disposable incomes are also fuelling extra demand for quality food and beverages.
Thailand is recognized as among the world’s leading suppliers of agricultural products, which is driven by a developed food processing sector. The agricultural sector in Thailand contributes 10 percent of the total country’s GDP and occupies around 40-50 percent of the labour force. The major food exports include seafood products, rice, meat, sugar, vegetables, and fruits.
Thailand is known for supplying frozen shrimp as Thailand is the world’s largest supplier of frozen shrimp and is a major exporter of chicken and chicken meat. On the other hand, it is also a leading importer of agricultural products, which includes a wide range of food ingredients, food and beverage products. The main food and beverage which Thailand imports are soybeans dairy products. The consumption of soybeans is increasing day by day.
Due to some political instability and economic downturn in Thailand, the Thai food producers have decelerated their investment in purchases of new machinery and manufacturing facilities. This resulted in a decrease in the imports of food processing and packaging equipment as well as a decrease in the local production. Though, the Thailand food’s exports remained strong as the food processing sector continues to recover its productivity and capitalize on its abundant source of high quality local raw materials.
World’s 7th largest food producer is Thailand with food processing and packing machinery imports about £1.3 billion a year.