ProPak Asia 2024 sees collaborative effort between public and private sectors

TISTR, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and Informa Markets have collaborated to strengthen the value of Thailand’s food and beverage export products, showcasing ProPak Asia 2024 as a hub for global manufacturing innovations and trends

The government and private sectors have joined forces to promote Thai food and beverage products and maintain Thailand’s position as a top global food exporter. TISTR, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and Informa Markets have identified four key principles for enhancing the strength and value of the industry: leveraging research for development, understanding the market, incorporating modern technological innovations in production, and staying updated on industry trends. They will also co-host ProPak Asia 2024, showcasing the latest technology in manufacturing, processing, and packaging.

Dr Chutima Eamchotchawalit, governor of the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR), emphasised that the key to developing and increasing the value of Thai food products lies in leveraging research, innovation, and processing and packaging technology. TISTR plays a crucial role in effectively developing said innovations and technologies in the food industry. This includes: research and development, promoting innovation, supporting education and training, and fostering partnerships between the private and public sectors. Through these efforts, TISTR supports the government’s policy to promote Thai food products with the aim to drive the development and growth of Thailand’s food industry on the global stage.

Dr Chutima Eamchotchawalit is the governor of the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR)

TISTRA has consistenly supported ProPak Asia, with a particular focus on the packaging and food technology sectors. The goal is to foster the growth of these industries into producing food products that meet global standards. This support encompasses knowledge sharing, skill development, facilitating opportunities for private sector collaboration with the government, and advocating for the integration of technology and innovation in the food sector.

At ProPak Asia 2024, TISTR will not only feature a booth but also host five seminars covering diverse topics pertinent to food, packaging, and sustainability. These seminars will delve into areas such as carbon footprint assessment in packaging, international standards for eco-friendly plastics, enhancing food shelf life through packaging, commercialising protein products from research, and addressing uncertainty in the development of testing methods. Furthermore, TISTR will provide consulting and research and development support for start-ups within the food industry.

Dr Charoen Kaowsuksai, chairman of food and beverage industry club, the Federation of Thai Industries, began by asserting that Thailand is one of the world’s leading food producers. The country’s strengths lie in its food and beverage manufacturing, processing, and related industries, which provide food security and generate significant revenue. Despite the ongoing growth in the food, beverage, and packaging industries, the key challenge will be developing and enhancing the value of Thai food and beverage products.

Dr Charoen Kaowsuksai is the chairman of food and beverage industry club at the Federation of Thai Industries

Modern entrepreneurs, according to Dr Kaowsuksai, must learn and adapt to advanced production methods, using innovation and technology as the foundation to elevate product standards, improve food safety, reduce energy and production costs, and address labour shortages. Flexibility is crucial, enabling quicker and easier adjustments in production processes. Entrepreneurs should also be bold in creating new and innovative products for an ever-expanding market. They can leverage Thailand’s diverse raw materials, local culinary wisdom, and regional significance to add value and develop distinctive food and beverage products.

Dr Visit Limlurcha, vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of processed food and future food committee, further highlighted the opportunities and strategies for Thailand’s food and packaging industries to thrive in the global market. Despite Thailand’s great potential and purchasing power, the global market is fiercely competitive. Expanding market share thus necessitates a deep understanding of consumer trends and behaviors to offer products that meet demand, captivate interest, and draw in consumers.

Dr Visit Limlurcha is the vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, as well as the chairman of processed food and future food committee

Thailand’s food exports have consistently excelled, reaching 372bn baht in the first quarter of 2024, with a growth of 2.79%. Within agricultural food products, exports totaled 175bn baht, growing by 8%. The top five products (with growth %YOY) were rice (growing by 49%), poultry products (6% growth), cassava products (declining by 17%), fresh, chilled, frozen, and dried fruits (declining by 13%), and shrimp products (growing by 23%).

In the agro-industrial product category, exports amounted to 197bn baht, experiencing a slight decline of 1.6%. The top five products (with growth %YOY) were canned and processed seafood (growing by 9.5%), sugar and molasses (declining by 33%), pet food (growing by 26%), wheat flour product and other processed foods (growing by 12%), and beverages (growing by 11%). In the first five months of 2024, the value of food and beverage exports is estimated to be around 620-650bn baht, with a projected total for the year of approximately 1.55–1.6tn baht, reflecting a 3% growth compared to 2023.

For entrepreneurs, staying closely tuned to economic shifts, geopolitical tensions, and cost fluctuations — such as labour, energy, and shipping rates — is crucial. Additionally, they should monitor high policy rates and drought concerns impacting agriculture. On the opportunity side, trading partners should continue to seek product stocks for food security and domestic demand. Furthermore, the thriving global tourism and hospitality sectors will generate opportunities for new market negotiations. Lastly, the devaluation of the Thai baht also provides an advantage for exports.

Sanchai Numboonnam, general manager of Informa Markets Thailand, remarked: “Thailand ranks 12th globally in food exports. The government aims to position Thailand as the ‘kitchen of the world’, from agricultural production to processing and exports, fostering a hub for food security and the research and development of future foods and high-protein plant-based foods. To support this vision and nurture Thai entrepreneurs, ProPak Asia 2024, as Asia’s leading exhibition of processing and packaging technology, adopts the theme ‘Empowering Sustainability Processing & Packaging Success with Ideation, Innovation, and Investment’.”

Sanchai Numboonnam is the general manager of Informa Markets Thailand

Modern manufacturing has increasingly incorporated technology to enhance capabilities. For instance, IoT (Internet of Things) is employed to monitor, inspect, and control production processes, optimise raw material and energy use, and reduce production losses. The development of automated machinery and factories, along with robotic technology, minimises errors and boosts production efficiency.

In addition, AI can control and improve production processes, make decisions, analyse raw material quality, monitor production conditions, and evaluate machinery efficiency. It also simulates production processes and tests and improves them without using actual resources. All these advancements are featured as part of ProPak Asia 2024.

ProPak Asia 2024 will utilise the entire exhibition space within the halls and front concourse of BITEC, covering over 55,000 sq m. The number of exhibitors has increased by 10% from last year, totaling over 2,000 from 45 countries. The event will feature international pavilions from 10 countries: Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, North America, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. The exhibition is divided into eight zones: ProcessingTechAsia, PackagingTechAsia, DrinkTechAsia, PharmaTechAsia, Lab&Test Asia, PackagingSolutionAsia (technology for packaging production), Coding,Marking&LabellingAsia, and Coldchain,Logistics,Warehousing&FactoryAsia.

Highlights of ProPak Asia 2023 include:

  • I-Stage: A platform for creative thinking, innovation, and investment in business solutions for the food and beverage industry, FMCG, and consumer products.
  • ProPak Gourmet: Workshops and demonstrations on using technology for processing and product development, focusing on methods to extend freshness and add value to raw materials for meat, poultry, seafood, and aquatic products.
  • Future Food Corner: Exchanging ideas on future food systems with manufacturing and packaging technologies, along with unveiling the future food experience.
  • Lab & Test Theatre: Stay updated on food safety regulations, inspection technologies, and quality control standards for processing food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and packaging.
  • Packaging Design Clinic: A zone providing consultation on packaging design.
  • WorldStar, AsiaStar & ThaiStar Packaging Awards Display: Display features packaging designs that have won competitions at national, regional, and global levels. This year is particularly noteworthy as the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) has chosen ProPak Asia to host the WorldStar Global Packaging Award ceremony, recognising winners of the international packaging design competition.

Key seminar platforms include:

  1. Global Packaging Forum 2024: Featuring over 20 global packaging experts discussing future trends across all types of packaging.
  2. Executive Talk: Asian Agri-Food Sector Transformation: Focusing on the processed meat, poultry, seafood, and agricultural product industries, this seminar covers regional business trends and strategies for adding value to products.
  3. Beverage Executive Talk: High-level executives in the beverage industry will share insights and discuss the future direction of the business.
  4. TISTR Seminars: Organized by one of the event’s main partners, these seminars and activities aim to enhance Thailand’s food and packaging industries through research, development, and innovation promotion.

Moreover, there will be over 120 seminars covering 400 topics, led by speakers and experts. These sessions will address research, innovations in processing, cooking, packaging, and the food and beverage business. They will also discuss various standards and regulations for both domestic and export consumer goods. Consultations on investment incentives from government and financial institutions will also be held.

ProPak Asia 2024 is expected to exceed 65,000 visitors. Moreover, more than 10,000 business operators from ASEAN and four other countries, including Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Bangladesh, have been invited to explore technologies, attend seminars, and engage in business negotiations. ProPak Asia 2024 will be held from 12-15 Jun at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) in Bangna.