Thailand's retail food sector is a vital component of the economy with food and beverage expenditures expected to grow about 26 percent by 2015.
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USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: TH3011
TH3011: Thailand boasts one of the most attractive food and drink markets in the Asia Pacific Region.
Its retail food sector is a vital component of the economy with food and beverage expenditures expected
to grow about 26 percent by 2015. Hypermarkets, supermarkets, and cash and carry establishments
present excellent opportunities for U.S. exporters.
Section I. Market Summary
Thailand boasts one of the most attractive food and drink markets in the Asia Pacific Region. Its retail
food sector is a vital component of the Thai economy with food and beverage expenditures expected to
grow about 26 percent by 2015. The Thai Retailers Association predicts that the retail food sector will
continue to grow by 12 percent in 2012 fueled by consumer spending and changing consumer habits In
2011 growth in the wholesale and retail food sector was only approximately 4-5 percent, primarily
because of the massive flooding that occurred in the latter part of 2011. The floods seriously affected
supply chains and logistical operations, as well as delayed the opening of new retail establishments
during the last few months of the year. In 2012, retail food sales in Thailand are estimated to be $77
billion, which is 10 percent higher than 2011 and accounts for about 82 percent of all retail sales in
Retail Sales 2008-2012
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Retail Sales ($billion) 89.7 86.0 102.5 112.2 122.2
Non-Food Retail Sales ($billion) 34.2 32.7 39.2 42.1 44.9
Food Retail Sales ($billion) 55.5 53.2 63.3 70.2 77.3
Source: Planet Retail; Economist Intelligence Unit
Consumer disposable income continues to rise along with expenditures on food and beverages, which is
predicted to reach $71 billion in 2011. Per capita disposable income rose 63 percent to $3,181 in 2011.
The typical Thai diet consists of rice, meats, eggs, vegetables, and seafood. In 2011, spending on food
and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 32 percent of all household expenditures. Although dining
out is becoming increasingly popular, there is still a general preference among Thais to cook at home.
Thus, about 70 percent of total spending on food and beverages occurs at retail food markets, while food
service accounts for the remaining 30 percent.
Over the past decade, Thailand’s retail food sector has been one of the fastest-growing in the world.
This retail food market has diverse store layouts ranging from wet markets to hypermarkets. The retail
food business is classified into two types: traditional and modern. Traditional stores are
characteristically family-oriented and mostly owned by Thais. They are known for providing old-
fashioned service and exhibiting outdated displays, operating stores with non-standardized management
systems and is mostly located in small commercial buildings and local communities. Thailand’s
modern retail food stores, on the other hand, utilize standardized management systems, point of sale
displays, state of the art technology, and are situated in densely populated and more affluent areas.
Food and Beverage Consumption in Thailand
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Meat consumption (kg per head) 28.3 27.1 28.0 27.9 28.7
Fish consumption (kg per head) 31.2 30.8 31.3 31.4 32.1
Fruit consumption (kg per head) 90.9 90.4 91.9 92.3 94.3
Vegetable consumption (kg per head) 40.3 39.9 40.7 40.6 41.2
Milk consumption (liters per head) 25.8 25.8 26.5 26.9 27.6
Coffee consumption (kg per head) 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.8
Tea consumption ((kg per head) 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Retail price for selected food items
Item Price (US$)
White bread, 1 kg (supermarket) 2.11
White rice, 1 kg (supermarket) 1.11
Potatoes, 2 kg (supermarket) 2.64
Chicken, fresh, 1 kg (supermarket) 2.32
Sugar, white, 1 kg (supermarket) 0.69
Milk, pasteurized, 1 liter (supermarket) 1.45
Coca-Cola, 1 liter (supermarket) 0.45
Wine, common table, 750 ml (supermarket) 14.35
Beer, top quality, 330 ml (supermarket) 1.01
Two-course meal for two people (average) 107
Source: Economist Intelligent Unit
Thailand’s retail food market structure continues to evolve with modern retailers such as hypermarkets,
supermarkets, cash and carry, and convenience stores gaining market share while traditional retailers
gradually declining. Modern food retailing accounts for approximately 70 percent of total retail sales as
the flow of local shoppers has been diverted from wet markets and grocery stores to hypermarkets and
supermarkets. These changes began in calendar year 2000 when Thailand's retail sector experienced an
increase in new investments from both local and foreign players. These investments have turned
Thailand into the second most dynamic retail food market in Asia after China. The majority of these
investments have come from the leading international retail chains such as hypermarket UK-based
Tesco with its Tesco Lotus stores, Big C Supercenter of Casino Group of France, and cash and carry
Netherlands-based Siam Makro.
Although supermarkets have a fewer number of outlets compared to larger hypermarkets, their influence
on the lifestyles of urbanized Thais, expatriates, and upper-income communities has been significant.
These companies, particularly because of the market segment they focus on, offer excellent
opportunities for U.S. exporters of consumer food items. The Max Valu supermarket chains are owned
by the Japanese corporation AEON, while Tops and Home Fresh Mart are owned by the Thai group,
Central Retail and The Mall Co., Ltd. Foodland Supermarket caters to local Thais, while Villa Market
carries a wide range of imported goods and caters to foreigners, particularly Western expatriates. UFM
Fuji supermarket caters to Japanese expatriates in Thailand and provides a wide range of imported
Japanese products. Foodland, Villa, and UFM Fuji are owned by Thai operators, in spite of their
Summary of Retailer Categories and Goals/Strategies
Goal/Strategy Hypermarket Cash and Carry Supermarket Convenience
Type of products Variety, middle quality Variety, middle Variety, usually Variety
sold goods quality goods premium
Target customers Middle and low-income Small retailers, All income types Customers who
customers customers who want
buy in bulk and convenience
Management of 30-45 days 1 month 10-15 days 15-20 days
Price Strategy As low as possible Wholesale price Daily price Higher prices
Other strategies Membership card, credit Membership card Membership Aggressive
cards, aggressive card. expansion of
expansion of outlets, and Promotions and outlets
frequent discounts discounts
Retail sales area 4,000-12,000 5,500-12,000 1,000-3,000 16-100
Source: Thai Development Research Institute
In 2011, modern retail food market sales totaled $23 billion, out of which 31 percent were from
hypermarket stores, 14 percent from the cash and carry stores, 17 percent from the supermarket stores,
and 31 percent from convenience stores. In 2012, competition in the retail food business remained
intense and most retail investment focused on improving and upgrading existing stores and store
formats in busy urban areas. Many retailers showed interest in building smaller-sized stores, which
better served the needs of consumers by locating closer to their homes or communities (i.e.,
condominium projects). Industry sources predict future competition in the food sector will focus more
on serving core customers needs through strategic initiatives including enhancing store layouts and
expanding product lines.
Key Food Retailers in Thailand
Company Name Store Format Ownership 2011 Sales No. of
Ek-Chai Distribution System Co., UK 4,832 1,672
Tesco Lotus Hypermarket Hypermarket 99
Tesco Lotus Value Compact Hypermarket 36
Talad Lotus Supermarket 130
Lotus Express Convenience Store 755
Talad Lotus and Lotus Supermarket and 652
Express Convenience Store
7-Eleven – CP All Pcl. Convenience Store Thai 6,459 6,276
Siam Makro Pcl. Cash and Carry The 3,153 52
BigC Supercenter Pcl. France 3,353 171
Big C and Big C Extra Hypermarket 107
Big C Market Supermarket 12
Mini Big C Convenience Store 51
Big C Jumbo Cash and Carry 1
Central Food Retail Co., Ltd. Thai 1,183 218
Central Food Hall Supermarket 4
Tops Marketplace Supermarket 50
Tops Supermarket Supermarket 45
Tops Daily Supermarket 119
The Mall Group Thai 148 11
Home Fresh Mart Supermarket 7
Gourmet Market Supermarket 4
Foodland Supermarket Supermarket Thai 148 13
MaxValu - Aeon (Thailand) Co., Japan 148
MaxValu Supermarket 17
MaxValu Tanjai Mini-Supermarket 41
Villa Market Supermarket Thai 99 22
Family Mart Convenience Store Japan 295 665
Source: Euromonitor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service - Bangkok, Thailand
The hypermarket segment has been the best performing retail sector as 90 percent of urban Thai
shoppers use hypermarkets at least once a week. At present, there are only two major hypermarkets in
Thailand, which are Big C and Tesco Lotus. Big C’s takeover of France based Carrefour Group in
2010, enabled it to expand its customer base in Bangkok and the provinces and subsequently turned it
into the hypermarket with the most outlets in Thailand. In general, hypermarkets offer more than
100,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) of consumer goods and vary in size from 4,000 to 12,000 square
meters (sqm). In addition, these hypermarkets offer a wide range of fresh food and packaged food and
beverages, which generally account for 60 to 65 percent of their total assortments. The average Thai
consumer spends about $150 per month on retail products, of which 49 percent is spent on fresh foods.
Both Big C and Tesco Lotus have also introduced a new store format called “Extra” which offers a
greater range of premium products including a wide selection of imported products targeting middle and
high income customers.
Hypermarket operators are also diversifying their store formats and turning to smaller-scale retail stores
including mini-supermarkets and convenience stores due to new government regulations and higher
land prices. In addition, its expansion in areas along the borders of neighboring countries like
Malaysia, Laos, and Vietnam is also increasing its customer base.
Siam Makro, the first membership-based Cash & Carry retail store in Thailand was established in 1988
and registered under the name “Makro.” At end of 2011, 52 Makro stores of varying formats and sizes
existed in Thailand with 9 stores located within the greater Bangkok area and 43 stores in the
provinces. Makro operates five different store formats in Thailand including:
Classic Store: Typical cash & carry structure designed to serve professional customers with
store sizes ranging between 5,500-12,000 sqm. Their primary customers are small retailers,
hotels, restaurants, and caterers (HoReCa), and other institutional business operators.
Eco Store: This store is designed to serve HoReCa customers located in tourist areas like
Phuket, Samui, and Krabi. The majority of the selling space is dedicated to food products.
Eco Plus Store: This store is designed to serve food professionals, both HoReCa and small food
retailers. Most of the selling space is dedicated to food products for HoReCa and small food
retailers. This format is expected to be the main concept for future expansion.
Siam Frozen Shop: Small stores with approximately 100-150 sqm that are positioned as frozen
food specialty stores selling mostly frozen products to the HoReCa customers. The company
now has two outlets in Chiang Mai and Udonthani.
Makro Foodservice store: This newly launched specialty store concept, with approximately
5,700 sqm, provides specific food service solutions for the full spectrum of HoReCa customers -
ranging from small street vendors, fine dining restaurants, and 5-star hotels. The first store was
launched in Hua Hin in January 2012. This store format includes walk-in fruit and vegetable
cold-rooms, a seafood section with live, fresh, and frozen seafood, and gourmet section for
meats, cheeses, bakery, and wines.
For many years Makro was the only major cash and carry retailer in Thailand targeting professional
customers, small retailers, hotels, restaurants, and catering institute customers. However, in early 2011,
Big C launched its “Big C Jumbo” cash and carry store to compete with Makro and expand their food
professional customer base. These stores usually encompass an area of 10,000 sqm and carry 12,000 to
15,000 SKUs. It carries approximately 80 percent food and 20 percent non-food items.
The supermarket business in Thailand is driven by six major players, which are Central Food Retail
(Central Food Hall and Tops Marketplace), The Mall Group (Home Fresh Mart and Gourmet Market),
Foodland Supermarket, Villa Market, MaxValu Supermarket, and UFM Fuji. This highly competitive
segment is concentrated in Bangkok where consumers with greater disposable income and more
discerning customers reside. The supermarket sector tends to cater to medium and upper income
consumers by offering a wide range of premium products and a broader assortment of local and
imported processed food, fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood, and beverage products. Central Food
Retail dominates this segment with 218 outlets nationwide.
The convenience store sector is the fastest growing retail food sector with over 11,000 stores
nationwide. It sells 15 percent of the total fast moving packaged consumer goods (FMCG) in Thailand.
The leading player is 7-Eleven, which accounts for 53 percent of total convenience store sales and has
6,276 outlets making it the world’s third largest 7-Eleven network after Japan and the United States. CP
All, the local operator of 7-Eleven, plans to open 500 new outlets a year in order to reach its goal of
7,000 outlets by 2013. Tesco has also aggressively expanded its network of smaller Lotus Express
stores at gasoline stations and downtown areas with more than 750 locations across the country. The
Central Retail Corporation, the operator of Tops Daily convenience store, established a joint venture
with Family Mart in September 2012. The company plans to convert all of its Tops Daily stores to
Family Mart Stores, which will subsequently increase the number of Family Mart outlets to 1,500 over
the next five years. Aeon (Thailand) plans to expand their convenience store brand “Max Valu Tanjai”
nationwide with approximately 20 new outlets every year. Another convenience store, Berli Jucker,
will launch its first ever 70 sqm-convenient store under the name “BJC Smart” in early 2013.
Number of Convenience Stores in Thailand
Convenience Stores 2008 2009 2010 2011
Stand alone convenience stores 7,288 7,906 8,883 9,773
7-Eleven stores 4,065 4,462 4,920 5,350
Others 3,223 3,444 3,963 4,423
Convenience stores in gas stations 1,961 2,012 2,075 2,135
7-Eleven stores 713 808 870 926
Others 1,248 1,204 1,205 1,209
Total convenience stores 9,249 9,918 10,958 11,908
Source: CP All Plc.
Over 90 percent of urban Thai shoppers use convenience stores and visit them regularly on an average
of 13 times a month. It is reported that an average of 7.6 million customers visit convenience stores
each day. Due to their popularity, the Thai convenience retail sector has become enormously
competitive as CP All's 7-Eleven chain faces growing competition from Tesco Lotus Express, Mini Big
C, Tops Daily, and Family Mart. Consequently, convenience store owners have re-focused their sales
strategies on food items and added new food product lines, especially ready-to-eat meals. Foods and
beverages account for 70-80 percent of total product assortment in convenience stores.
Hypermarkets, supermarkets, and cash and carry establishments present excellent opportunities for U.S.
exporters of consumer food items. The main factors U.S. exporters should consider before entering the
Thai market are pricing, product shelf life, and consumer preferences. Intense competition in the retail
food market, particularly from large-scale modern companies that use pricing strategies and loan
extensions to low-income consumers, caused the closure of many traditional food stores. Thailand’s
hypermarket sector is dominated by two large companies, which normally give them bargaining power
with suppliers. The convenience sector is not considered to be an attractive channel for U.S. products
due to the pricing disadvantages as these stores mostly rely on locally and regional produced goods.
There have been numerous changes in retail food store formats since 2007. The number of stores with
large layouts outnumbers older and smaller stores, namely stand-alone stores with no theater,
restaurants, or entertainment venues. Today, the flow of local shoppers has been diverted from wet
markets and grocery stores to hypermarkets and supermarkets, therefore, making the latter the better
option for entering Thailand’s retail food market.
The traditional ’mom and pop” stores and wet markets in Thailand are not ideal entry points for U.S.
exporters primarily due to price sensitivities and preferences for traditional foods. U.S. exporters should
be aware that many U.S. branded food products such as snack foods, candy, chocolate and breakfast
cereals are already present in the market, but produced domestically or in neighboring Asian countries.
Most retailers have recently modified their marketing strategies by expanding their private label product
offerings, instituted money promotions and discounts, and created loyalty programs through
membership cards in order to attract new customers and maintain market share. Some supermarkets and
hypermarkets have their own private label brands for ready-to-eat foods, ready-to-cook prepared foods,
home-made bakery items, sausages, water, cooking oil, rice, sauces, dairy products and fruit juice.
Private label products provide good sourcing opportunities for U.S. food ingredients, although some of
U.S. ingredients such as frozen fries and dried fruits, are not competitive as a result of free trade
agreements (FTAs) Thailand has signed with neighboring Asian countries like China, Vietnam,
Malaysia, etc. Nonetheless, margins on private label products for retailers are double that of branded
products and have grown in popularity due to the ability of retailers to price them accordingly. For
example, the Central Food Retail has three brands of private labels, namely “My Choice” for ready-to-
eat products, “Cooking for Fun” for specialty products such as olive oil, pasta, and rice, and “Tops”
brand for premium consumer products. Big C also has three private label brands, which are “Happy
Baht” for price sensitive customers, “Big C” for medium end customers, and “Big C Advance” for high
end customers. Despite these existing private label products, there are still significant opportunities for
growth in this market.
Retail food operators in Thailand have also expanded into online shopping and social networks as
customers gain greater access to the internet through mobile devices and reliable online-payment service
providers. Big C, in particular, has been offering online shopping services
(http://shoppingonline.bigc.co.th) for three years. Big C’s current service package includes online
orders, same-day pick up, and free delivery with purchases over $49. Central Food Retail also offers
online shopping through smartphone applications and internet social networks. Tesco Lotus
(www.tescolotus.com/shoponline) will launch its online shopping services in early 2013. Despite the
growth of online shopping, there are still a large percentage of lower income Thai consumers who do
not have access to internet and lack computer skills. These consumers still prefer to physically purchase
their products rather than making online buying decisions.
Advantages and challenges facing US products in Thailand
U.S. exporters are able to provide many varieties Stiff competition from Australia, New Zealand,
of high quality agricultural products from fresh South Africa, Europe, and China.
to processed foods.
Increase in Thai consumers’ preference for U.S. products are not always price-competitive
higher quality products. as compared to imports from China, Australia,
New Zealand, and Malaysia.
Local Thai consumers view US-origin products Local manufacturers can quickly improve or
as being of high quality and safe. change the quality of their products, taste or
packaging sizes according to consumer behavior
while keeping production cost low.
More than 10 percent of Thailand’s population Lack of knowledge about new U.S. products
live in Bangkok, which accounts for 90 percent makes Thais reluctant to purchase unknown
of the sales of fast moving consumer goods foreign products.
Growing middle class increasingly spends more Price is still the most important factor when
on imported food; estimated $30 million in making a purchasing decision.
New retail outlets are expanding which allows Lack of importer and retailer knowledge and
all Thai consumers access to new imported training in purchasing and handling of U.S. food
Preference for local brands (e.g. Nestle, Singha
Thai palettes are increasingly including imported Lack of continuous promotion of U.S. varieties
food items. in Thai market. Exporters need to support
market promotion campaigns to open new
More disposable income to spend on high Market penetration for imported products is
premium products. concentrated in Bangkok and major tourism
The growing tourism industry is fueling demand Foods similar to American products cost less to
for U.S. seafood, wines, whiskies, etc. produce locally.
Reliable supply of U.S. agricultural products and Thai government policy and actions try to
advanced U.S. food processing technology. increase demand for Thai local products.
Good relationships with foreign suppliers. High import tariffs on high value consumer food
and beverage products hamper imports of U.S.
meat products, wine, whiskies, cherries, peaches,
grapes, apples, pears.
Gift giving is essential and luxury foods are Marketing costs to increase consumer awareness
preferred. Shoppers like to seek and purchase are high.
new products for gifts.
Attractive packaging gives the impression of Quality of domestic production and marketing is
better quality. improving.
Thailand’s beneficial geographic location is Thai importers have shifted to products
viewed as a gateway to larger Indochina and produced in ASEAN countries due to higher
other Asian markets. import tariffs for U.S. imported products.
Demand shift from unprocessed foods in fresh SPS and TBT issues hamper U.S. imports.
markets to a wider array of processed products
available in large supermarkets.
The fast pace of modern life and the increase in Most of ready-to-eat meals can be produced
the number of singles, one-parent families and locally.
working women have led to the change the way
food is prepared and consumed.
Section II. Road Map for Market Entry
Entry Strategy – Supermarkets, Hypermarkets and Cash and Carry
The best method for U.S. exporters to enter the Thai market is to contact the supermarkets,
hypermarkets or cash and carry companies directly. Any retailer that does not have their own import
division will have to contract with local importers or agents to meet the needs of the exporter. Choosing
the right importer is one of the most important decisions for exporters wishing to do business in
Thailand. The local importer will be a key partner helping expand business opportunities and minimize
the need for exporters to establish direct contact with multiple retail chains. In addition, a local importer
familiar with market conditions and the regulatory environment can help exporters successfully market
their products. U.S. exporters should be aware that many multinational retailers in Thailand charge
listing fees or a listing allowance for new products. The fee will be charged in accordance with a
formula based on the number of retail outlets and SKUs.
Distribution Channels - Supermarkets, Hypermarkets and Cash and Carry
The distribution channel for supermarkets, cash and carry, and hypermarkets in Thailand normally start
with importers, then distributors, and end with the central warehouse or direct to retail outlets. The
foodstuffs will be kept either in importers’ warehouse, distributors’ warehouse or a central warehouse
before delivery. Some supermarkets, superstores and hypermarkets operated by multinational operators
import food products directly and store them at their own distribution centers before delivery to each
Entry Strategy - Convenience Stores, Gas Marts and Kiosks
The best method for U.S. exporters to enter this market segment is to contact the head office of
convenience stores, gas marts, and kiosks. U.S. exporters should be aware of the listing fee or listing
allowance that may be charged by large convenience store chains. The fee will be charged in
accordance with a formula based on the number of outlets and SKUs.
U.S. branded foods sold in these stores are generally produced in Thailand or neighboring Southeast
Asian countries. These products include snack foods, chocolates, cookies, candies, gums, and breakfast
cereal. Distributors often import U.S. branded foods from neighboring countries rather than from the
United States because of the lower transportation cost and AFTA preferential tariffs. Sales trends of
imported food from neighboring and other FTA countries in convenience stores will increase in line
with the purchasing power of the target group. U.S. products will be well received by Thai consumers in
convenience stores if price and quality are similar to what local suppliers and other low cost exporting
Distribution Channels - Convenience Stores, Gas Marts & Kiosks
A common distribution channel for convenience stores, gas marts and kiosks starts with U.S. exporters,
then to U.S. consolidators and traders, and end with Thai distributors to convenience stores, gas marts
and kiosk distribution centers. Some Thai distributors distribute foodstuffs directly to convenience
stores, gas marts and kiosk outlets. Most of the foodstuffs that are distributed directly to the outlets are
fresh, including baked goods and dairy products. The flow pattern of different retailers varies
depending on the sales volume and number of outlets.
Entry Strategy - Traditional Markets
For U.S. exporters, Thai traditional wet markets are more difficult to enter because of lower prices,
lower consumer purchasing power, limited traditional distribution outlets, and consumer preference for
traditional Thai and Chinese food products.
Distribution Channels - Traditional Markets
Local manufacturers usually have their own distributors to deliver their products. Some local
producers are under supervision of a Royal Project in which assigned distributors manage the
Section III. Competition in 2011
In thousand (US$)
Product Total Direct Imports Share of U.S. Major Competitors
Imports from the U.S. Imports in Total
Beef 58,929 632 1 % India (56%), Australia (31%),
New Zealand (9%)
Breakfast 33,695 1,538 5% China (18%), Philippines
Cereals/Pancake Mix (21%), Malaysia (9%)
Cheese 42,700 2,074 5% New Zealand (33%), Australia
(28%), Netherlands (8%)
Coffee, Roasted 6,492 3,272 50% Italy (23%), UAE (14%),
Dairy Products (Excl. 616,110 61,036 10% New Zealand (47%), Australia
Dried Fruits 11,388 3,726 33% China (19%), Australia (17%),
Fish and Seafood 2,689,045 274,262 10% Taiwan (11%), China (8%)
Fresh Fruits 363,243 39,185 11% China (66%), New Zealand
(8%), Australia (5%)
Fresh Vegetables 144,558 4,563 3% China (68%), Laos (8%),
Fruit and Vegetable 63,625 13,865 22% Israel (23%), China (11),
Juices Taiwan (9%)
Frozen Potatoes 30,023 13,106 44% New Zealand (20%), Belgium
(16%), Netherlands (12%)
Jams, Fruit Jellies 7,315 3,706 51% Philippines (11%), France
(11%), Switzerland (9%)
Sausage and Prepared 7,776 1,381 18% Italy (15%), Australia (12%),
Meat China (7%)
Snack Foods 230,245 6,307 3% Indonesia (27%), Malaysia
(16%), China (12%)
Tea 9,944 225 2% UAE (19%), India (11%),
Tree Nuts 114,163 12,481 11% Indonesia (31%), Vietnam
(28%), China (14%)
Turkey Meat 1,151 1,136 99%
Wines 44,411 2,488 6% France (40%), Australia (33%),
Italy (7%), Chile (6%)
Spirits 227,162 4,116 2% UK (74%), France (9%),
Locally and regionally produced snacks and beverages dominate the Thai market. Imported foods,
however, do relatively well in Bangkok (especially near upper income residential areas and expatriate
neighborhoods) and major tourist areas such as Phuket, Hua-Hin, Krabi, Samui, and Chiang Mai.
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have created additional challenges for U.S. exporters. Many U.S. food
companies have shifted manufacturing bases from the United States to Thailand or neighboring
countries such as Malaysia, Australia, China, and Indonesia to take advantage of the lower production
cost. In addition, FTAs have lowered tariffs and provided favorable treatments to competitors and
consequently have made U.S. products less competitive in the Thai market.
Section IV. Best Market Prospects
The best market prospects for U.S. suppliers include fresh fruits (cherries, grapes, strawberries, oranges,
apples, berries), nuts (walnuts, hazel nuts, and pistachios), breakfast cereal, frozen seafood (scallop,
lobster, fish, mussel), dried fruits (raisin), fruit juices, jam, vegetable oils, candy, chocolate, chocolate
milk mix, dairy products (cheese, cheese spread, cream cheese, whipped cream, cheese sticks, cheese
dip and ice-cream), pie fillings, processed meat, American spices, seasonings and sauces, snack foods,
crisp bread, syrup, vinegar, wine, spirits and pet food.
The best selling U.S. food products are fresh fruits (cherries, grapes, and WA apples), frozen fries,
scallops, snack foods, breakfast cereal, wine, dried fruits, popcorn, and pet foods. Products that are not
currently present in the market in significant quantities, but have good sales potential are American
bourbon and whisky, seafood including Alaska King crab legs, halibut and other fish, sugar
confectionary, soup and broth, biscuits and wafers, candy, stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines),
processed meat, chocolate milk mix, cheese, dip sauce, other cooking products.
Section V. Post Contacts and Further Information
A) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service
The Foreign Agricultural Service in Bangkok maintains current information covering food and
agricultural import opportunities in Thailand and can facilitate U.S. exports and entry to the Thai
market. Questions or comments regarding this report should be directed to following:
Office of Agricultural Affairs
120-122 Wireless Road
Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Office of Agricultural Affairs
U.S. Embassy, Box 41
APO AP 96546
John Wade, Agricultural Counselor
Rey Santella, Agricultural Attaché