The annual Kin Jae festival is helping feed Bangkok residents' growing appetite for vegetarian food, with the participating population rising from 57.1 percent to 66.7 percent this year, reflecting a trend towards healthier lifestyles among the new generation. People are also eating less frequently each day. KResearch expects Kin Jae festival-related sales in Bangkok to reach 4.76 billion Baht in 2019, up 2.4 percent YoY. The growth is weaker than that of last year, because the slowing economy is prompting some Jae consumers to curb their spending during this year's Kin Jae festival.
In the future, the growing popularity of vegetarian food will provide a tailwind to the related business operators in the market. Some people have taken up the habit of consuming vegetarian food even after the festival, for health benefits and religious purposes. At the same time, due to the changing market behavior, the new generation and the elder consumers both play a more prominent role in the food market. Hence, food companies must address the challenge of catering to the demands of these consumer groups. In addition to extending their variety of vegetarian product offerings, food companies should highlight the health benefits and fully nutritious qualities that their products provide. They may select nutritious ingredients such as Hom Nil rice or rice berry, and plant-based protein substitutes, together with reducing sweeteners (low sugar), fat or sodium components in their foods (greasy foods and foods with a high volume of fat are among the reasons deterring people from eating a vegetarian diet, as mentioned by 55.6 percent of the respondents). Food producers may increase dietary fiber to relieve constipation, and provide a caloric intake calculation for each type of vegetarian food that is available. Such strategies need not be limited to vegetarian food alone, but could be applied to other foods in general as well, and producers should consider them to make their products stand out in the market and better respond to consumer needs.