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Asia’s growing meat market

Source:Ringier Food

Date Published:6/4/2018 05:06:28 PM

NUCHARAT SIRIPRAPAWAN provides an overview of the meat, poultry, and seafood markets in Asia. Thailand is the region’s leading meat and seafood exporter, ranking fourth globally.

EVEN while consumers around the world are realising the benefits of obtaining their protein from non-animal sources, meat consumption remains strong.

In different parts of Asia where resources are fairly limited compared to other regions, the demand for meat is growing either moderately or fast, noted Rabobank. Growth in the poultry as well as aquaculture sectors are highest in Southeast Asia, attracting investors to the region.

Global production of pork is expected to rise 2% in 2018 to 113.5 million tons mainly due to expansion in China, as well as the US and EU, according to the USDA. Exports will rise 1% as demand increases and prices decline. Pork suppliers see markets in Taiwan, HK, the Philippines and Mexico as leading the growth.

The pork sector shows signs of moderate growth in Asia. The USDA underscores the Philippines’ expanding middle class and higher income growth as driving the consumption of pork – the preferred meat – in the country. In Japan and Korea, pork consumption grew 4%, the highest rate in the past 10 years. In Korea, home-grown pork is increasingly used in ready-to-eat products, the USDA said. The agency also makes a note of China’s reduced demand as its pork sector recovers.

In 2018, the global output of beef and veal is forecast to grow 2% to 63.0 million tons, while exports will reach 10.5 million tons or an increase of 5%, the USDA said.

In 2018, global production of broiler meat is expected to rise 2% to 92.5 million tons, while exports will reach 11.3 million tons. Thailand – the world’s fourth top exporter, will see a growth of 7% to 810,000 tons on strong demand in Asia and expanded China market access, the USDA said.

Thailand: Asia’s leading meat and seafood exporter

In Asia, Thailand is unrivalled in meat and poultry exports. According to 2014-2016 data from the Thai National Food Institute, Thailand ranked fourth in global meat and poultry exports, accounting for US$ 2,279 (7.52%), and ranked first in seafood, particularly in the export of canned/preserved tuna which amounted to US$ 2,355 million (37.05%).


Thailand seafood, meat and poultry exports from 2014 - 2016


Exported Items





Metric Ton

Metric Ton

Metric Ton







Tuna (Canned/preserved)





Frozen shrimp





Fresh, chilled, frozen fish





Meat & Poultry





Processed chicken





Frozen chicken





Others poultry and meat




  Source: National Food Institute, Thailand


Thailand’s poultry sector

A report compiled by Krungsri Research in 2016, ranks Thailand fourth global exporter of frozen chicken, accounting for 4% of the world market, and the top exporter of processed chicken, cornering 30% of the global market. C.P. Merchandising was the leading exporter of frozen chicken, while Cargill Meats (Thailand) was the top exporter of processed chicken.

A comparison of Thailand’s chicken meat exports from 2016-2017 as detailed by Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, shows an increase in Japan and other regions and a decrease in the EU. 


Processed meat:Retail market volume growth 2017-2020

 Countries % CAGR volume growth 17/20
India 17.83%
Indonesia 13.57%
Vietnam 8.53%
Philippines 7.77%
Brazil 4.15%
Malaysia 5.86%
South Africa 3.43%
Thailand 2.82%
South Korea 2.77%
China 2.34%
Japan 1.03%
UK -0.36%
US -0.53%

Various sources including Economist Intelligence Unit, Mintel, The Nielsen Company, GfK Group, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, National Bureau of Statistics of China, Statistics Indonesia, National Meat Producer Association, Statistics Korea, AHDB, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, FreshLook Marketing Group, IDDBA, National Chicken Council, Progressive Grocer

APMEA’s first centre of excellence for meat

The continued developments in the food sector gives companies like Kerry, a global leader in taste and nutrition solutions, every reason to establish their position in Thailand – and Asia – to meet the needs of the processed meat market.

In March 2018, Kerry launched its newly expanded 8,500sqm Regional Development and Application Centre in Bangpoo, Samut Prakarn in Thailand. Equipped with new technologies for a range of food and beverage product categories, the facility has also been designated as the first Centre of Excellence for Meat in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region, where Kerry can co-develop signature meat profiles based on different protein types with the region’s customers. With in-house application, sensory and culinary meat experts, the meat centre is well positioned to develop commercially viable and innovative products at an unrivalled speed to market.

According to data from Kerry, from 2017-2020, the retail processed meat markets in Southeast Asia, India, Brazil, South Africa and East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea) will grow while the meat markets in the UK, US and Germany are expected to decline. 

Kerry notes that the APMEA region is a challenging market with potential for growth. Consumer tastes across the APMEA region including China and Africa are rapidly changing as the middle-class population increases. In Thailand, more than one-third of the population are millennials, and they love to travel, try new cuisines and are more health conscious. All these trends are driving consumers to look out for not only authentic and convenient choices but also innovative flavours from all over the world.

 “Consumer food and beverage tastes are changing rapidly due to the region’s growing urban middle class and this is creating huge opportunities for the F&B sector. We’re excited to combine our 15 years of heritage in Thailand with the latest technologies and innovation to help our customers stay ahead of the curve and grow their market share now and into the future,” John Savage, President & CEO, Kerry APMEA said at the opening of Kerry Regional Development and Application Centre in Bangpoo.

“Thailand is a priority market and an important regional hub for many of our customers in Southeast Asia, Europe, Japan and beyond, so we’re delighted to be launching these new, world-class multi-application facilities in Bangpoo,” Mr Savage added.

“The country has a strong food service market place, which will grow to 1 trillion Baht by 2020, and a modern retail network with more than 13,000 convenience stores throughout the country.” He also said that the centre will serve local and international food and beverage manufacturers in Thailand, whose products have been exported to many markets around the world.

As one of the largest food manufacturers in the world, Kerry is also committed to achieving high standards in sustainability. As part of this commitment, the centre employs automated pouch filling technology to reduce energy consumption and improve operational efficiency.



Global poultry and pork outlook.

Krungsri Research, 2016.

Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade.

National Food Institute, Thailand.

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016-2025 report.

Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association         

Interview with Thai Tuna Industry Association.

Poultry meat exports for the world’s 5 leading poultry meat exporters 2014-2018.



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