BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Commerce Ministry sees vegetarian food as a golden opportunity to break into the Taiwan market.
The ministry said that the demand for vegetarian food is likely to grow in Taiwan. It will be an opportunity for Thai exporters to use their expertise in food manufacturing to export products to Taiwan.
Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, International Trade Promotion Department director-general, said that he had received survey results of Taiwan’s vegetarian food market from a commercial ambassador in Manila.
The results show that it is an interesting market that has a great potential to grow because 10 per cent of Taiwan’s 23-million population eats vegetarian food regularly, he said.
They eat vegetarian food because they want to protect the Earth which is different from the past when they used to eat veg food due to religious and health reasons.
Currently, the Taiwanese brand Plant-Based is successful in the US market and is sold in the famous supermarket chain Aldi while also joining hands with Carrefour, a giant hypermarket in Taiwan.
The brand is also pushing ready-to-cook meat to the market, such as stir-fried pork with basil, Korean-style grilled beef, and European sausages.
The brand also plans to sell tom yum kung, green curry, and fried chicken with lemongrass and chilli, which are popular Thai foods in Taiwan, he said.
Meanwhile, Plant-Based has successfully developed nine menus of planted-based ready-to-cook for Mahayana Buddhists and Yiguandao believers who eat vegetarian foods.
Previously, most vegetarian foods are bland and their tastes are not varied so they are not very popular in the market, he added.
Therefore, the company decided to develop products with diverse tastes and successfully got into the US market two years ago.
The taste was similar to normal foods as consumers could not tell the difference and almost 20,000 kilograms of products were sold in the first phase.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, the transportation cost increased heavily, so the company decided to accept fewer overseas orders and focused on the domestic market instead.
The company has joined hands with several hypermarket giants in Taiwan and developed ready-to-cook meals based on Thai foods’ popularity in Taiwan.
Phusit mentioned that more business operators have decided to get into the Thai vegetarian food market to respond to consumers’ demands and released several items, especially famous Thai foods such as stir-fried pork with basil, tom yum kung, and green curry.
Therefore, it is a good opportunity for Thai operators to use their expertise in Thai foods to develop Thai vegetarian food for the Taiwanese market, he said.