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12/06/2018 – News / Event / Thaifex / Koelnmesse / Thailand / Asia

THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2018 breaks record as largest edition to date

The 15th and largest edition of THAIFEX-World of Food Asia came to a close on Saturday (2nd June) after five action-packed days on the show floor – and exceeding all expectations in terms of turn-out, with double-digit year-on-year growth.


A total of 13,110 international trade visitors from over 150 countries were present at the region’s largest dedicated food & beverage (F&B) tradeshow, representing a 9.4-per-cent growth from the 2017 edition and surpassing all of the event’s previous records. 


This brought the total trade visitor count to a whopping 62,039 – a 12.6-per-cent increase from the previous show, surpassing the expected 60,000 attendees, and the largest number of visitors to date at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia.


An impactful platform that showcased the synergistic partnership between the government and private sector to address growing F&B demands and concerns in Asia, THAIFEX-World of Food Asia is jointly organised by Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, the Department of International Trade Promotion, and the Thai Chamber of Commerce.


“The potential of ASEAN is tremendous. We've been recording strong double digit growth since 2014, in conjunction with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community. In fact, we have been adding an average of 10,000sqm to the show every year since then, and we’ve even carved out an additional two trade days this year to better facilitate business exchange,” said Mathias Kuepper, Managing Director, Koelnmesse. “This year's record-breaking figures are a testament to the attractiveness of the ASEAN F&B market, and we’d like to give our heartfelt gratitude to all exhibitors, buyers, and visitors for their constant support.”


Platform for penetrating ASEAN market 


This year, THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2018 played host to 2,537 exhibitors – recording a remarkable 17-per-cent increase from the previous year, in support of the increasing importance of the ASEAN region to the F&B industry. Representatives from countries such as Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam held a strong presence at the show, with international exhibitor numbers on par with local exhibitors for the second year running.


Echoing similar sentiments, Mrs Napawan Promkhatkaew, MD of Family Tree Foods Co. Ltd, said that the online business-matching and database management tools at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia contributed greatly to the firm’s successful participation as an exhibitor this year. “Not only were we able to widen our business networks and meet prospective customers from other parts of the world such as Latin America, Africa and the Middle East using these tools – the strong promotional efforts of the organisers also meant our existing customers knew about our participation at the show, and took time to fly in to Bangkok to meet us here,” she said.

Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister, giving the opening address at the opening ceremony of THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2018, held at IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center in Bangkok

From 1-2 June, the Department of International Trade Promotion and Koelnmesse hosted more than 3,000 buyers. The programme helped match top buyers with international exhibitors looking to penetrate the burgeoning F&B market in ASEAN.


“Exhibiting at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia is a truly important opportunity for Argentina and for any company looking to penetrate the ASEAN market, which is why we flew representatives from 28 companies halfway around the world to be here,” explained Mr Diego Gómez, Head of Commercial Promotion in Federal Council of Investments. “Through the customised business-matching programme, we had the privilege of introducing high quality food products from Argentina's central region to the hosted buyers, exchanging knowledge, and interacting with like-minded individuals in the industry.”

Ms Emma Khine Mon, Head of Supply Chain at Premium Distribution, informed that her business was always on the lookout for products and suppliers to keep it competitive and to further expand on the firm’s 2,000 stock-keeping units. “THAIFEX-World of Food Asia’s hosted buyer programme provided us a dedicated, uninterrupted session to learn about new potential suppliers, focus on exploring new opportunities, and forging new partnerships.”


Affirming Thailand as ‘Kitchen of the World’


This year’s Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge (TUCC) certainly did not disappoint visitors as the world’s elite culinary talents cooked up a storm, preparing myriad local and international delicacies. The highly popular culinary challenge saw more than 1,300 entries from 10 countries pitting their skills against one another, all vying for the coveted championship titles of the various challenges within the competition.


Together with more than 40 international judges from 11 countries, this year’s collaboration between Koelnmesse, Thailand Chefs Association and the Worldchefs (WACS) crowned the following champions:


• Best Ultimate Pastry Chef Award – 

Ms. Chanida Kanapitakpong, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University


• Best Ultimate Junior Chef Award –

Ms. Chanida Kanapitakpong, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University


• Best Ultimate Professional Chef Award –

Ms. Sucharat Piyachokphaisarn, Suan Dusit University


• Best Ultimate Establishment Award (Professional) –

Suan Dusit University 


“The passion and dedication demonstrated by these chefs during the competition truly showcased what TUCC is all about. The gastronomic talents were raised to a whole other level at this year’s edition of TUCC. Every year, the competition gets stiffer and we’re excited to see what the 8th TUCC brings,” said Chef Willment Leong, Organising Chairman of the Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge.

Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Argentina Pavilion, official partner country of THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2018.

Celebrity Coffee Bar


Elsewhere, the 4th Celebrity Coffee Bar brought together 14 famed baristas from around the world, where they showcased their finesse in coffee brewing and perfected latte art. Espresso and brew-tasting master-classes were also held to cater to budding coffee connoisseurs, where baristas and exhibitors offered tips and tricks on how to perfect the art of making coffee.


“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn different brewing techniques from other champion baristas from around the region. It was amazing to see how our shared passion for coffee connected us despite our different cultural backgrounds,” said Mr Aldrin Lumaban, 2018 Philippine National Barista Champion. “Although this is the first time I’m taking part in a trade exhibition, my experience at the Celebrity Coffee Bar has inspired me to start sharing sessions back home in the Philippines to spread the love for coffee with both amateur and professional baristas.”


Minimising food waste


According to the UNEP, roughly 30 per cent of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted every year. Hence, in partnership with the Thai Scholars of Sustenance (Thai SOS), a foundation committed to increasing food security through the management of food waste, exhibitors at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia came together to collect leftover food during the teardown of the show. The food donation was then inspected, packed and stored appropriately by Thai SOS, before being delivered to local communities in need of supplies.


New features for 2019


Keeping abreast of industry trends, and proactively gathering insights from show attendees, both new and revamped segments have been carved out for next year’s THAIFEX-World of Food Asia. Exhibitors and visitors can look forward to a new trade show featuring fresh produce, evolved from this year’s THAIFEX Fruits and Vegetables. At the same time, the THAIFEX Frozen Food trade show will expand to include frozen fruits and vegetables, in order to better streamline and facilitate buying processes.


A future trend fuelled by the increasing prevalence of food allergy is, of course, the ‘free-from’ market – and this will debut at the show next year, featuring products that are free from allergens, such as non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and sugar-free.


THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2019 will be held from 28th May to 1st June. 


For more information on next year’s event, visit:

Latest issue – Vol 1/23
– Health & Nutrition focus
– Gulfood 2023 Special
– Next level legume – The rise of the chickpea
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