Food Processing / Packaging Global Market
Insights and Opportunities
Overview: Thailand is the 7th largest food producer in the world. For the majority of food giants, such as Frito-Lay and Kellogg’s, Thailand is their processing and distribution center for the Southeast Asian market due to the abundant supply and competitive prices of major agricultural products.
Thailand increasingly depends on high-quality machinery to meet food safety standards required by major importing markets like EU, Japan and USA. Every year, food processing and packaging machinery valued at approximately US$2 billion is imported. Due to the economic downturn and domestic political uncertainty, Thai food producers have slowed their investment in manufacturing facilities and purchases of new machinery. This resulted in a 10 percent decrease in the imports of food processing and packaging equipment and 20 percent decrease in the local production.
According to distributors of overseas equipment, the purchase orders began to pick up late last year. Several companies have projected that sales of food processing and packaging machinery should grow 10-15 percent in 2010.
Best Products/Services: Best sales prospects for U.S. food processing and packaging equipment include: Packaging machinery and materials (film making machines, form-fill-seal machines used for food packaging, heat sealers used for food packaging); Refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipments; Machines for cleaning, sorting or grading eggs, fruit or other agricultural produce; Bakery machinery and machinery for the manufacture of macaroni, spaghetti or similar products; Machinery for the manufacture of confectionery, cocoa or chocolate; Machinery for sugar manufacture; Meat processing equipment; Fruits, nuts or vegetables processing equipment; and Machinery for the extraction or preparation of animal or fixed vegetable fats or oils.
Opportunities: Major suppliers of food processing and packaging equipment were Japan (23%), China (13.6%), Germany (11.5%), South Korea (10.3%) and the U.S. (9.1%).
When Thai food processors are in the early stages of setting up their company, it is common to invest in cheaper machinery. As Thai companies expand and raise more
capital, they begin investing in higher quality equipment typically made in Germany, Japan and U.S. The U.S. is particularly strong in the cold storage product category
because the imports of the refrigerating and freezing equipment from USA accounted for up to 26 percent.
Thailand imports food processing and packaging equipment from Japan the most, accounting for 23 percent of the total imports. Japan is the number one investor in Thailand and Japanese companies normally use machinery made in Japan. According to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, there are over 7,000 Japanese manufacturing facilities in Thailand, and Japan is increasingly promoting their machinery into Thailand.
In general, local Thai manufacturers believe German machinery has the highest quality, because European machinery has established a strong presence and brand awareness in the market. Their local agents have continuously introduced and promoted new technology. In addition, European suppliers are more willing to customize their machines to meet specific requests by local end users.
Nevertheless, those food processors who have used both American and European machinery have expressed the view that American machinery is easier to maintain and
more durable. Therefore, U.S. companies are encouraged to showcase their distinctive selling points such as high quality and competitive pricing.