Plant-based food exports blooming for Thailand

Plant-based foods are blossoming as an export for Thailand, with shipments of plant-based food products poised to rise by 20 percent this year. The category is staking its claim on the menu of delectables that make Thailand the only net food exporter in Asia.

Exports of plant-based foods rose 24 percent year-on-year during the first eight months of 2022. The total export value of these goods was at just over $2 million in 2021. The global market for these products has expanded dramatically during the past decade, and analysts are forecasting continued growth through 2030, presenting opportunities for Thai firms.

Companies making plant-based food in Thailand have mushroomed during the past few years, and their products are readily found in local supermarkets. Until now, most Thai plant-based food firms have been concentrating on boosting domestic sales and have not yet focused heavily on their export markets.

Also, major food companies in Thailand have recently begun paying attention to the category. Thai Union, one of the world’s largest seafood companies, has been investing in startups specializing in plant-based fish products. CP Foods, the Kingdom’s biggest food company, has also begun investing in the plant-based sector.

Visit Limlurcha, Honorary President of the Thai Food Processors Association, said that rising numbers of health-conscious consumers, innovations and people concerned about animal welfare and the environment have been driving the uptick in consumption of plant-based foods.

Bloomberg Intelligence has forecast that plant-based food will account for 7.7 percent of the global protein market by 2030, with a value of more than $162 billion, up from $29.4 billion in 2020.

The Asia-Pacific region is particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. As a result, Bloomberg added, the region is likely to dominate the plant-based protein market and reach a value of $64.8 billion by 2030, up from $13.5 billion in 2020.