Viet Nam News
Bồ Xuân Hiệp
BANGKOK — Traditional demand for food in the region has changed drastically following rapid population growth and mass urbanisation in Asia in the last decade, speakers said at an international press conference held on Thursday in Bangkok.
“Not only does the Asia-Pacific region have some of the fastest-growing food and beverage industries in the world, with projected year-on-year growth rates averaging 11 per cent, there has also been increased attention to healthier living demand for better labeling and packaging,” said Malee Choklumlerd, general director of the Thai Department of International Trade Promotion.
The press conference was held to provide information about the THAIFEX-World of Food Asia to be held from May 31 to June 4 in Bangkok.
The annual trade show is expected to draw more than 45,000 industry professionals, 2,000 exhibitors and representatives from more than 40 countries, including Việt Nam and other ASEAN members.
The trade show is co-organised by Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion at the Ministry of Commerce, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Koelnmesse Pte Ltd.
The trade show is expected to be a strategic access point for businesses around the region, especially now that the ASEAN Economic Community has been established.
Thailand’s proximity to emerging Asian countries like Việt Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar – ASEAN hotspots for investments – provides international exhibitors with unique opportunities and an enhanced competitive edge.
Mathias Kuepper, managing director of Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, said: “With an additional 13,500 square metres of event space, we expect not just a growth in participant and exhibitor numbers, but also visitors of varied profiles and nationalities from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.”
“Being in the heart of the ASEAN region provides our exhibitors with unparalleled access to emerging markets in Indochina, especially Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar,” he said.
Supapat Ongsangkoon, deputy general director of the Department of International Trade Promotion, said the event would boost Thailand’s food industry growth in Asia and allow Thai food and beverage (F&B) entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises to improve their competitive edge in the regional marketplace.
Businesses will also be able to showcase their offerings and innovation, as well as learn about the latest happenings on the world F&B stage.
This year’s event will showcase 15 specialised product segments, offer deeper insights into 11 trending food topics, and include specialised trade fairs for coffee and tea, food services and seafood.
On top of the sustained interest in veganism and vegetarianism, another trend set to make waves this year is organic food.
The 2,000 exhibitors will include businesses from Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey and Scotland, among others.
There will also be more than 60 thematic pavilions to promote both international and local food products, as well as the Thai Select certification.
Highlights will include the third Celebrity Coffee Bar, which will be headlined by Dawn Chan, a two-time winner of the Hong Kong Barista Championship and owner of The Cupping Room.
Victor Mah, president of the ASEAN Coffee Federation and Singapore Coffee Association, told Việt Nam News that Asians’ coffee drinking habits had changed dramatically in the past two decades and had become a lifestyle choice for many people in the region.
With the rapid growth in demand, however, there is a need to ensure that quality is met.
The World of Coffee and Tea will allow like-minded individuals in the industry to connect, exchange ideas and spark innovation, he said.
The event will also include the sixth Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge, which will be held concurrently with the qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Chefs Congress.
In addition, there will be three major conferences where key business decision-makers are expected to attend and network, including the World of Food Safety Conference, Asian Food Franchising Forum, and a juice workshop.
THAIFEX-World of Food Asia is an annual international trade exhibition for food and beverages, food technology, and retail and franchises in ASEAN, while Koelnmesse is a trade fair organiser in the food industry and related sectors. — VNS