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10 Oct 2023

Econ Digest

Bangkokians’ spending during the Vegetarian Festival to grow by 3.5% in 2023, due in part to rise in vegetarian prices as compared to last year’s festival


        KResearch holds the view that vegetarian food prices are expected to rise during the annual 9-day Vegetarian Festival set for October 15-23, 2023. This is because the production costs of vegetarian dishes are likely to increase as compared to a year earlier. The volatile weather conditions, heavy rains and floods have affected many farming areas, leading to a drop in crop yields, including vegetables (such as kale and pumpkin), rice and tofu that are main ingredients of vegetarian food. Additionally, plant-based proteins typically see price hikes due to increased demand during the Vegetarian Festival while energy prices remain at a high level. In September 2023, the overall food-at-home inflation rose by 1.5%YoY and food-away-from-home inflation grew by 1.1%YoY, reflecting the fact that prices of vegetarian foods for both dining at home and at restaurants are set to rise, especially during the Vegetarian Festival. However, the number of Bangkok residents participating in this year’s festival is expected to increase due to their growing interest in healthy eating and the resumption of normal lifestyles.            
        Amid a potential increase in vegetarian food prices, concerns about high living costs, and fragile purchasing power, although the government has introduced measures aimed at easing the cost of living such as discount campaigns, consumers are still worried about their expenses and future incomes. According to KResearch’s survey results, Bangkokians who plan to follow a vegetarian diet are trying to partially change their spending behavior by controlling their budget during the festival. They will reduce their number of days of participation and choose affordable food options like street food stalls and dine-in shops. KResearch therefore projects that Bangkok residents’ spending throughout the 2023 Vegetarian Festival will amount to THB3.1 billion, growing by 3.5%YoY. This is based on a forecast that vegetarian food prices may increase by 2.5%YoY, while the volume of vegetarian food purchase is likely to grow slightly, by approximately 1.0%YoY.
        Looking ahead, vegetarian food consumption remains unlikely preferable among most Bangkok residents, posing a challenge to the potential growth of the vegetarian food business. The key focus thus lies in effective strategies to boost sales and expand the customer base, even beyond the Vegetarian Festival. Businesses should highlight the value that the vegetarian diet offers compared to regular food. Moreover, focus should be on the introduction of special menus to offer greater dining experiences and encourage repeat purchases through the use of premium ingredients (alternative proteins, superfoods), the production of new menus to create market differentiation, as well as promotions and discounts both during and after the Vegetarian Festival.

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