Thailand is the second-biggest economy in ASEAN and a major global tourism destination. This dynamic and consumer-driven market with rising disposable income and huge visitor market of around 35 million is increasing its demand for imported food and wine, offering many opportunities for Italian exporters
The Thai consumer is spending 7 per cent more on food every year, has great confidence in imported product, and is exceptionally open to innovation in taste and packaging. Critically, the Thai consumer is more accessible through retail and HoReCa channels than ever before.
Italian food has witnessed an explosion of popularity in recent years in Thailand, with now more than 500 Italian restaurants in Bangkok.
Thailand’s demand for premium imported food and beverage is growing in line with the growth in the tourism industry and the growth of upper-middle income earners. Imported food and beverage typically sells very well in Bangkok and tourist precincts such as Phuket, Hua Hin, Krabi, Samui and Chiang Mai.
Driven by hypermarkets and convenience stores, Thailand is the second most dynamic retail market in Asia after China, due to a high level of foreign and domestic investment in the retail industry. 70 per cent of all spending on food and beverage occurs at some form of retail food outlet, with most modern stores located in densely populated and the more affluent areas.
Thailand’s large Premium Hotel Restaurant Café (HoReCa) food service sector comprises approximately 150,000 outlets, including 130,000 restaurants and more than 7,000 hotels and resorts. Hotels, resorts, tourist restaurants and corporate food service rely heavily on imported food. The Thai HoReCa sector, on average, imports 30 per cent of food sold locally. Growth in the tourism industry has resulted in a growing demand for western food and wine.
Forecasts for the next few years are extremely positive: + 36% in food consumption, 65 billion US $ in 2019 In 2017, imported products accounted for about 40% of the entire Food & Beverage market. More than 350 Italian restaurants in Bangkok, 1000 in Thailand. It is always easier to find Italian products on supermarket shelves.
All combined with the fact that exporting to Thailand is relatively uncomplicated compared to complex processes in other Asian markets such as China.
Considering GDP per capita with equal purchasing power, Thailand is a medium-high income country. The capital Bangkok (which has about 14.5 million inhabitants) and the large urban centers have an ever-expanding middle-high class, this class has a purchasing power equal, if not higher, to the middle-high classes of Western countries more industrialized.