Growing global concern for health has created a timely opportunity for Thai “functional food” entrepreneurs to develop and export products to high-potential markets, said Yuthasak Supasorn, president of the National Food Institute.
Functional food's global market will be worth at least US$53 billion in 2009 and $90 billion in 2013, up from $44.9 billion in 2008, according to research by “just-food.com”, the food industry's online resource.
Key markets for Thai operators include South Korea, Japan, China, India, the UK, Germany, the United States and Australia, as well as Thailand, says Yuthasak.
"People around the world are concerned about their health. This creates an opportunity for Thai operators because Thai foods are well-known, especially for the use of herbs as ingredients. But we must apply creativity and high standards to our products. Consumers are especially attracted to products that can reduce the risks of heart and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, prevent obesity or enhance immunity, digestion and beauty are also in demand.
“Asian markets like China, India and South Korea are likely to soar. Japan's market is estimated to be the biggest, with a value of $8.42 billion while the South Korean market is looking for natural quality products from reliable producers."
The UK is the largest market in Europe, with an estimated value of $2.48 billion. Germany's market is expected to be worth $1.3 billion in 2013, up from $0.97 billion in 2008, while the US, is the world's second biggest market after Japan, and may rise to $6.51 billion in 2013, up from $5,25 billion in 2008, says Yuthasak.