Pet food exports continue to flourish
Thailand's pet food exports are thriving, driven by the pandemic, which caused people to spend more time at home and change their behaviour regarding raising pets as family members.
Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said the country has an opportunity to export pet food products in the global market, especially pet food for dogs.
The Commerce Ministry is committed to promoting Thailand to become the world's leading producer and exporter of pet food, he said.
In 2021, Thailand was the world's third-largest exporter of pet food for dogs and cats, accounting for 9.7% of the global market, following Germany (12.6%) and the US (9.9%).
According to Mr Poonpong, Thailand has a competitive edge thanks to its cheaper labour costs compared with developed countries, in addition to strong pet food processing industries.
"With more people treating their pets as family members and paying special care to their pet's health, demand for quality and reliable pet products free from chemicals or synthetic substances keeps rising," he said.
Mr Poonpong said Thailand has abundant raw materials for the production of various animal feeds such as meat, vegetables and fruit, as well as local spices and herbs.
Last year the country's pet food exports totalled US$65.4 billion, up by 27% from 2020. The top five export markets were the US (30%), Japan (14.7%), Malaysia (7.1%), Italy (6.7%) and Australia (5.9%).
Pet food exports to Asean and South Asian countries, specifically Indonesia and India, have recorded continuous growth and are expected to become important markets for Thailand in the future, he said.
Mr Poonpong suggested pet food entrepreneurs develop quality, reliable, safe and standardised production systems.
In addition, he said the origin of raw materials should comply with organic farming standards certified by trusted sources.
Visit Limlurcha, president of the Thai Future Food Trade Association, said the global pet food market was valued at $94.8 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% from 2022 to 2030, citing a study by Grand View Research.
According to Mr Visit, pet food demand grew steadily in many parts of the world as individuals adopted more pets in response to a growing desire for some company during lockdowns.
"Given the high demand globally, we expect Thai pet food exports in 2022 to grow by 32% in baht terms over 2021, with the figures expected to continue rising by 20% in 2023," he said.