The Royal Thai Consulate together with the Thai Trade Centre in Dubai is organising the Thai Food Festival from May 12–30, 2020 to promote Thai fresh fruits and halal food products. The festival is being held at four venues in Dubai - Thai Ratchada and Athir Aljazira inside the Fresh Market Dubai, and Thai Smile Supermarket and Thailand Foodstuff in Karama.
While the economic repercussions of the pandemic have made headlines, the crisis is also an opportunity for countries prepared to innovate, leverage their strengths, and do business differently.
Thailand is one such country, which has chosen to focus on its strengths – fresh fruits and food products like Thai jasmine rice. Observing that lockdowns in partner countries have caused a slowdown in Thai fruit and food exports, the Thai government has taken steps to ensure that the popularity and consumption of their products, and particularly in the UAE, can weather the Covid-19 storm.
The Royal Thai Consulate together with the Thai Trade Centre in Dubai is organising the Thai Food Festival from May 12–30, 2020 to promote Thai fresh fruits and halal food products.
“The purpose is to create awareness of Thai premium food products, including fresh fruits, in the UAE,” Chairat Sirivat, Royal Thai Consul General, said. “We are offering Thailand’s most popular and best mangoes Nam Dok Mai, and also Durian, mangoesteen, and many other popular varieties.”
The Thai food festival is being held at four venues in Dubai - Thai Ratchada and Athir Aljazira inside the Fresh Market Dubai, and Thai Smile Supermarket and Thailand Foodstuff in Karama. Apart from fresh fruits and halal products, Thai specialities such as Thai Jasmine Rice (Hom Mali), coconut items and curry paste are on offer.
“We will offer discounts and special deals at every outlet,” Sirivat said. “Besides, our stores will adhere to all the sanitation and precautionary measures set by the UAE Government.”
Thailand also wants to encourage people to try its halal products. “We have long been called ‘the kitchen of the world’ because Thailand is one of the world’s leading food exporters,” Sirivat explained. “Thai halal food is also preferred because the Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT) guarantees its authenticity. CICOT is also certified by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology (ESMA).”
The eleventh largest exporter of food products in the world, Thailand leads the market for canned tuna, frozen seafood, canned sweet corn and pineapple, rice and chicken.
“Considering we are a small country, we are proud that we are the number one country exporting canned tuna in the world,” says Panot Punyahotra, Director, Thai Trade Centre, Dubai. “We are the number one exporter of sweet corn and number four in terms of chicken and poultry products after Brazil, US and the EU. We are also proud to be the top food exporting country and as far as halal food items are concerned. I have to say that 70-80 per cent of the food export is halal. When you export halal food the most important part is the trust of the consumer, and people trust us because everything is strictly controlled and certified by the concerned authorities.”
What is the one thing about fresh fruits from Thailand that sets it apart from the rest in the market? “It is the quality of our products that distinguishes us,” says Punyahotra . “In Thailand we focus a lot on the quality of our fruits, and we keep innovating new varieties. We have almost 30 varieties of mangoes and at least 10 varieties of Durian, which are incredibly unique to Thailand. We export around 10,000 tons of mangoes to Korea, and 8,000 tons to Japan. These two markets focus a lot of quality and the fact that we can export here and to the US and European markets is a testament to our quality.”
Currently, UAE's fresh fruits and the halal food products segment is making huge strides and the quality of homegrown fruits and fresh produce is becoming evident, especially the organic produce. “We see a lot of organic products from farms in the UAE,” says Punyahotra. “It’s commendable that a country with very harsh conditions can produce such a high quality of fresh fruits and vegetables and we have a lot of learn from it. Now, most of the produce in the UAE is vegetables as the production of fruits may be a little difficult because it requires a lot of water and conducive weather. This offers us an area to contribute to the market here.”
Thai companies are constantly pioneering innovations to raise the quality of fresh fruits and halal foods from Thailand. In terms of innovation, the country keeps coming up with different varieties of fruits. “We try to get sweeter and better-looking fruit and you’ll be able to see it for yourself if you come to our event,” says Punyahotra. “As we can’t compete with prices with our competitors, we focus on the quality of our food products. Also, in the ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food segments, we are one of the leading countries in this field.”
On the production side, Thailand has not seen much of an impact of Covid-19. “Only in terms of logistics, there has been a problem because of flight restrictions and airport closures. This has affected the export of our fresh fruits, but we will soon be back to normal.”
The peak of summer is the best time for people to experience fresh fruits from Thailand, Punyahotra said. “Athir Aljazira, who is a specialist for Thai fresh fruits, will offer discounts and free samples. I invite people who have never tasted Durian to come to our store in the fresh market. We also have offers and discounts on selected halal products.”
To buy the products visit the following stores:
Athir Aljazira on Facebook
Thai Smile Supermarket on Facebook
Thailand Foodstuff on Facebook