Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

OPENING STATEMENT

by

Hiroyuki Konuma
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

delivered at the 

Seminar on Tapping into the Processed Food Market

Bangkok, Thailand
23 June 2010




Associate Professor, Dr.  Siree Chaiseri - Dean of Faculty of Agro-Industry,
Assistant Professor, Dr. Chutima Waisarayutt,
Mr. Apinan Sompornpattana, Senior advisor, Industrial Consultancy Services, National Food Institute
Mr. Piyawat Titasattavorakul, Managing Director, CP ALL Public Co., Ltd
Mr. Chakkit Chatupanyachotikul, Senior Commercial Manager House Band,
Distinguished participants

     It is my pleasure to welcome you here today, on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to this Seminar on “Tapping into the Processed Food Market.”

Ladies and gentlemen

     Today, we see quite a lot of change taking place in the way in which food is marketed across Thailand.  We see a growing number of hypermarkets “cash and carry” and convenience store formats around Bangkok, and the number the number of such modern grocery stores is growing across Thailand. According to a February 2010 report of Mc Kinsey and Company, the number of hypermarkets across Thailand has increased from 65 to 216 since 1999, and the number convenience stores has ballooned from 1500 to 7,800 over the same period. 

     In parallel with the on-going changes in food retail, lifestyles of Thai consumers, particularly in urban areas are changing. There are more women working away from home, incomes are increasing there is limited time for shopping and meal preparation at home. Many people have amenities such as microwave ovens at home for the rapid preparation of foods, and an increasing number of people are dining away from home and are shopping in hypermarkets, convenience stores and cash and carry stores. 
 
     According to Mc Kinsey and Company, Thai consumers are looking for value, are increasingly focused on convenience, health, wellness and food safety.  Processed food consumption in Thailand is also currently on the increase.  According to the Thailand Board of Investment, in 2007, the domestic demand for processed food products increased by 12 %.  Ready-to-eat foods are particularly popular; and sales of ready-to-eat processed meals in Thailand grew by 54 % during the period 2001 to 2006. The demand for on-the go immediate consumption of foods is, indeed, very evident as one looks around Bangkok. 

     Supermarkets, hypermarkets, “cash and carry” and convenience stores require that the products they market conform to consumer requirements for safety; quality, convenience and that such products can be consistently obtained from their suppliers in the appropriate quantities at the right price.  Many also require that foods they sell conform to industry standards for traceability and certification.

     One major advantage that you, the SMEs have in the Thai market is that of knowing the tastes and preferences of Thai consumers.  The challenges to be met by you, however, relate to assuring the safety, quality and consistency of your products, and being able to consistently supply the volumes required by the market.

     Apart from raising awareness on these critically important issues, this Seminar will seek to establish a network designed to support you as small processors in upgrading the safety and quality of your outputs.  We hope that you will make good use of the information that you receive here today, and that you join and actively participate in the network, so as to allow you to derive the maximum benefit that can be translated into improvements in your product quality and safety, thus allowing you to benefit from improved opportunities for your products.

     FAO-RAP is pleased to collaborate with Kasetsart University in implementing this Seminar. On behalf of FAO, I wish to thank Dr. Siree, and Dr. Chutima of Kasetsart University for kindly organizing this seminar.

     I will now end by wishing you a productive and fruitful Seminar. 

     Thank you.