Thailand’s food exporters have found opportunities in the midst of the current crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumers worldwide visit supermarkets and dine in restaurants less often, they are buying more processed and canned foods to cook at home as well as more ready-to-eat foods.
The trend has highlighted the strength and diversity of Thailand’s food supply chain, which is serving the country’s goal of producing foods to cater to the growing demand among global consumers for nutritious and functional foods that serve their specific needs.
While the pandemic has adversely affected world trade, Thailand has recorded healthy growth in the exports of foods and products. Official data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that export of frozen poultry increased by 15% and pet foods by 19%. Data from the Thai Food Processors’ Association showed that exports of ready-to-eat food grew 6% by volume in 2020. Asian markets, including China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia, and the CLMV group of countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) were among the key importers of Thai food products in 2020.
Thailand’s food export performance in 2020 has been in line with the government’s development plan for the industry, which focuses on high value food products, or the so-called “Food for the Future” due to its potential for generating higher outputs and broader impacts on the country’s industrial supply chain.