Food exports expected to jump says peak body
The National Food Institute (NFI) recently issued a statement saying it expected Thailand’s food exports to grow by about seven percent during 2015, primarily due to stronger demand from markets within Asia.
According to the NFI, food exports in 2014 totalled 1.01 trillion baht and this amount is expected to reach around 1.08 trillion baht this year. The main marketplaces for Thai food exports are within the Asean region, with 200 billion baht’s worth of products being exported to Asean members, especially the Philippines, Laos, Indonesia and Myanmar.
The United States is the next largest importer of Thai food, taking around 120 billion baht’s worth of product in 2014 while Europe imported 120 billion baht’s worth and China consumed 110 billion baht’s worth of Thai food exports.
The NFI noted that demand in Europe and the United States had slowed down in recent times, mainly due to an overall slowdown in economic conditions, but demand from major food importers such as Japan and many of the Asean member states had kept the Thai food export industry vibrant.
These countries imported large quantities of Thai rice, chicken, frozen and canned foods, and the NFI noted how the numbers grew year on year. At present, food as a raw material accounted for 60 percent of Thailand’s total food export value of 1.01 trillion baht, with processed and cooked foods making up the balance.
The NFI is looking to help food exporters improve the processed and cooked food numbers, increasing the value by at least 10 percent during 2015. The profit margins for cooked and processed foods are better than raw food exports, so any major increase in this sector of the food exporting market only adds greater value to the bottom line numbers.
Although the outlook is expected to be buoyant, the NFI did have some warnings for the overall food export industry outlook. A sub-committee of the NFI, called Thai Food Heritage, suggested overall demand for Thai food products could be sluggish since the economies of major Thai food importers remained relatively weak.
The NFI recommended food exporters look towards finding more innovative methods to make their products more competitive on the world stage. Increasing competition from other food exporting countries always had the potential to eat into Thailand’s market share, and food exporters needed to remain aware of what their competition was offering.