Thais gorge on beef, demand up B10bn
The popularity of shabu and yakiniku restaurants has led to higher demand for beef in Thailand.
Siriporn Dechsingha, chief corporate communications officer of Siam Makro, the cash and carry store operator, said Thailand's beef consumption is estimated to reach 40 billion baht in value this year, up from 30 billion five years ago.
Some 60% of total consumption came from the fresh market, with 37% from modern trade and the remaining 3% from the food service business.
According to the Livestock Development Department, Thais' beef consumption has increased to 2.7 kilogrammes per person annually from 2.46kgs five years ago.
"Demand for beef in Thailand seemed sluggish over the last five years because of religious beliefs and health concerns, particularly for the elderly. The wave of Japanese and Korean food and Thais travelling to Japan and Korea caused many Thais to reframe their approach to beef consumption," Mrs Siriporn said.
"This is why consumption of local beef and imported beef has risen by 10% for three straight years. Restaurants have added more beef dishes to their menus, while the pandemic has driven beef consumption at home. Prices range from 200 baht per kg to 12,000 baht, making it affordable for Thai consumers."
To cope with higher beef demand, Siam Makro plans to provide over 1,000 beef items from Thailand, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, the US and Brazil.
"As the hotel, restaurant and catering business has yet to recover, we are shifting our focus to support restaurant operators providing more beef items to Thai customers," Mrs Siriporn said.
Thiraporn Thiratip, the company's director for commercial fresh food, said Makro has a 7% market share of total beef supply, with modern trade channels controlling 93%.
Mrs Siriporn said the company expects to sell 2.8 billion baht worth of beef this year, with the figures expected to increase by 30% next year.
Makro operated 134 stores across the country last year. This year it has opened three new stores.
There are seven Makro stores in four other countries: India, China, Myanmar and Cambodia.