A recent presentation by Gaurang Kotak, Vice President (SEA) of NielsenIQ, a major research agency, aimed to provide better understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted food and beverage consumption particularly among Thai consumers. This presentation was done during Food and Drink Innovate Thailand 2022, a virtual conference held on 22 to 23 February organised by Escom Events.
According to Gaurang, up to 74% of Thai consumers claimed to be facing a tougher financial situation in 2021 compared to a year earlier, and this has certainly affected their food and beverage consumption patterns. Up to 48% of Thai consumers are now much more careful on their spending.
Another interesting finding is that the 1st pandemic wave in Thailand in 2020 did not create much impact on frequency of meal consumption although it has pushed the shift towards delivery. However the 2nd and 3rd pandemic wave had reduced ‘eat-out’ frequency due to a change in lifestyles to ‘working from home’ and ‘lesser outdoor activities’ among Thais. This has certainly affected the choice of meals and food consumed by Thais over the review period. More Thais (57%) are having home-cooked meal which they claimed to be more affordable than eating-out. (see Chart 1.0)
Gaurang also mentioned that ‘food delivery’ is on the uptake and is also the only channel that has benefited from the pandemic, while most other food channels like convenience store, food retail, street vendors, coffee shops and restaurants have witnessed considerable drop in frequency of customer visits.
The 2021 pandemic has definitely altered the ‘eat out landscape’, according to Gaurang, with food delivery and take away meals capturing a big share of the market. Three years ago, these 2 categories especially food delivery took only a small pie of the market. (see Chart 2.0)
Three major trends that can be observed after the pandemic in Thailand is the growth in plant-based protein which Gaurang said is likely to be a ‘niche segment’ in the foreseeable future as plant-based products still need to address the critical issues of both taste and price, in addition to the need to build more awareness and educate the Thai consumers on its health benefits. The other trend is the growth in food delivery and Thai consumers can expect more innovations like promo/deals in addition to better appealing individual meals offered by delivery apps and providers. The final trend will be ‘unique dine-in experience’ offered by restaurants and eating outlets to capture that smaller cream of consumers to their stores.
For more information, please watch the detailed video of the presentation