Mr. Chaiwat Nantiruj, Eka Global's Group CEO, said COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed consumers' lifestyle, especially the way they consume food products. While food safety and hygiene have become the top concerns, food producers have to concentrate more on food processing technology and packaging that better address consumers' changing needs and increase their production efficiency as well as ability to meet with consumers' changing lifestyle. At the same time, they have to take a new marketing approach to address the larger market.
In Thailand, SMEs in the local food industry have also found themselves struggling in this changing environment. They have to move fast to better capture the new market trend and meet with consumers' demand and, thus, increase confidence among targeted consumers. They have to ensure consumers of their high production quality and standard. Some food producing SMEs have even introduced stricter requirement on their employees' personal hygiene, especially those in delivery department who have close contact with customers, while others require all employees to wear gloves and masks.
Chaiwat noted that consumers today pay high attention to the nutritional values in the food they eat. This has opened up more opportunities for organic foods that are free from insecticide and other toxic chemicals and functional foods with specific health benefits on top of their natural nutritional values. Foods that promote human immunity and digestive system are among the most talked about.
"A recent report in Euromonitor showed that Thailand's functional food business is as big as 68 billion baht with 5% growth projection in 2021. Organic food sector is smaller with approximate 560-million baht value but with 12% growth potential for this year," said Chaiwat.
Another trend ignited by COVID-19 is the home delivery service. Since the pandemic has been with consumers for almost two years, consumers are familiar with online food ordering and home delivery services. It is believed that when the pandemic ends, online food ordering and home delivery service will continue to grow. This means huge opportunity for food companies.
Chaiwat added that the government has provided strong support for the food industry and aimed to make Thailand the kitchen of the world. It projects that Thai food industry will reach 1.35 trillion baht within 2026. This huge market opportunity has also attracted new comers, in terms of products and players. To remain competitive, food producers have to pay more attention to product development, smart choice for food packaging to extend their product shelf-life and adopt advanced food processing technology to eliminate the pain points in their business.
To help Thai SMEs in the food industry explore alternative food processing technology and ways to extend product shelf-life, Eka Global has initiated a program allowing participating SMEs to test and try the Modified Atmosphere Packaging Process (MAP). Interested persons can book a seat free of charge at www.eka-global.com or call 038-574-187 for more information.
Source: Make A Wealth Consulting