Thailand Offers Food Innovators Ingredients To Thrive
BANGKOK: Thailand’s food industry is poised to seize an even greater global market share in 2018 on multiple fronts including agricultural production, food innovation, and halal foods — and many of the industry’s most powerful global companies are already taking note.
The only net food exporter in Asia, Thailand’s year-round growing season, abundant natural resources and geographic location grant it a considerable advantage in agricultural production. The country is a major global producer of items such as seafood, rice, cassava, tropical fruits, and sugar. In addition, its excellent logistical infrastructure, supportive government, and skilled labor force all contribute to its standing as a food processing and agricultural leader. Thailand’s high quality and safety standards have also helped cement its reputation in the food industry.
Thailand’s Food Innopolis, located in Thailand Science Park, is where the country’s food innovation facilities, research and development units, and other allied institutions come together to share ideas and shape the future of the food industry. Established in 2016, the collaborative network includes 17 companies, 23 universities, and 12 public and private organizations, and is part of the Thai government’s “Super Cluster”. The Food Innopolis offers companies direct access to over 2,000 highly-skilled food researchers, more than 10,000 students, and 150 food research laboratories. The Thailand Board of Investment also provides several incentives to companies that choose the country as its base of operations, including a corporate income tax exemption and a 50% reduction for an additional five years, work permit and visa assistance for foreign employees, among others.
Other food industry subsectors hold similar promise in Thailand. Currently, the halal food industry is growing at a rate faster than that of the overall food market. Thailand is the tenth largest global exporter of halal food products, with a US$6 billion market share. In 2017, the Thai National Food Institute (NFI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Central Islamic Council of Thailand in order to support the growth of the country’s halal food industry and help it retain and expand its market share in this subsector.