KResearch predicts that Thailand's food and beverage exports in 2019 will increase 3.5 percent YoY, or equivalent to USD26.6 billion, driven by key export items, namely, fresh and frozen and chilled fruit, poultry products (chicken), wheat products, other ready meals and non-alcoholic beverages which have continued to expand and are still in demand in Thailand's major trading partners, namely the Chinese and ASEAN markets.
In 2020, the value of food and beverage exports is likely to expand within a limited range due to the slowing global economy, strong competition from competitors in the market and the upward trend of the Thai Baht. Moreover, the fact that some large-scale Thai companies have expanded their production and distribution bases to Thailand's trading partners to replace exports may also be attributed to a deceleration in the value of food and beverage export items such as fishery products, canned and processed seafood and non-alcoholic beverages. Hence, the export value of food and beverages in 2020 is projected at USD26 billion-27.1 billion, with a growth rate between minus 2.0 percent and a growth of 2.0 percent YoY.
KResearch projects that, on the outlook of Thailand's food and beverage exports, products which respond to future consumer trends, such as organic produce, healthy food, plant-based and insect-based protein, medical food and ready-to-eat food (RTE), etc., will have strong potential to grow because they match the needs of consumers in importing countries. Although these products have only enjoyed slightly higher growth than the market average currently, they have strong prospects. So far, Thailand has exported these products in the form of fresh, primary and semi processed foods, namely, vegetables, fruits, condiments, processed food products and organic beverages, etc. Meanwhile, Thailand's competitors have begun to penetrate these markets to capitalize on the new global consumption trend. The production and development of advanced processed products for exports such as plant-based or insect-based protein, medical food, herbal extracts, dietary supplements and superfoods, etc., are still in the early stage. To promote these innovative food products, Thailand needs to attract investment, research and development together while adhering to internationally-accepted standards. If Thailand succeeds in upgrading food production, it will help create more business opportunities for these newly-developed products.