Retail foods report -Thailand 2012

An Expert's View about Food , Beverages and Tobacco in Thailand

Posted on: 5 Feb 2013

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.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 1/23/2013 GAIN Report Number: TH3011 Thailand Retail Foods 2012 Approved By: Rey Santella, Agricultural Attaché Prepared By: Sukanya Sirikeratikul, Marketing Specialist Report Highlights: 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. Post: Bangkok Executive Summary: 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 $77 billion, which is 10 percent higher than 2011 and accounts for about 82 percent of all retail sales in Thailand. Retail Sales 2008-2012 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Retail Sales ($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 foreign positioning. Summary of Retailer Categories and Goals/Strategies Goal/Strategy Hypermarket Cash and Carry Supermarket Convenience Store Type of products Variety, middle quality Variety, middle Variety, usually Variety sold goods quality goods premium products Target customers Middle and low-income Small retailers, All income types Customers who customers customers who want buy in bulk and convenience HRI Management of 30-45 days 1 month 10-15 days 15-20 days goods in inventory Price Strategy As low as possible Wholesale price Daily price Higher prices than supermarkets 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 sq m) Source: Thai Development Research Institute In 2011, modern retail food market sales totaled $23 billion, out of which 31 percent were from hypermarket stores, 14 percent from the cash and carry stores, 17 percent from the supermarket stores, and 31 percent from convenience stores. In 2012, competition in the retail food business remained intense and most retail investment focused on improving and upgrading existing stores and store formats in busy urban areas. Many retailers showed interest in building smaller-sized stores, which better served the needs of consumers by locating closer to their homes or communities (i.e., condominium projects). Industry sources predict future competition in the food sector will focus more on serving core customers needs through strategic initiatives including enhancing store layouts and expanding product lines. Key Food Retailers in Thailand Company Name Store Format Ownership 2011 Sales No. of ($million) Outlets Ek-Chai Distribution System Co., UK 4,832 1,672 Ltd. 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 Netherlands 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 Ltd 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 ( 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 ( 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 Advantages Challenges 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. 2011 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 products products. Preference for local brands (e.g. Nestle, Singha Beer, etc.) 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 markets. More disposable income to spend on high Market penetration for imported products is premium products. concentrated in Bangkok and major tourism areas. 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 outlet. 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 countries offer. 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 distribution. 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 Imports 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%), Australia (7%) Dairy Products (Excl. 616,110 61,036 10% New Zealand (47%), Australia cheese) (11%) Dried Fruits 11,388 3,726 33% China (19%), Australia (17%), Indonesia (18%) Fish and Seafood 2,689,045 274,262 10% Taiwan (11%), China (8%) Products 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%), Canada (6%) 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%), China (10%) 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%), Philippines (6%) 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: Local: Office of Agricultural Affairs U.S. Embassy 120-122 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330 Thailand Tel: 662-205-5106 Fax: 662-255-2907 E-mail: Website: U.S. Mail: Office of Agricultural Affairs U.S. Embassy, Box 41 APO AP 96546 Key Contact(s): John Wade, Agricultural Counselor Rey Santella, Agricultural Attaché
Posted: 05 February 2013

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