THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2023 opens with mega attendees

Some 100,000 visitors convened at the exhibition in IMPACT Muang Thong Thani.

An attendee at THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2023. A second show, THAIFEX HOREC Asia, was soft-launched at the event.
An attendee at THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2023. A second show, THAIFEX HOREC Asia, was soft-launched at the event. Photo Credit: THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2023

THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2023 drew about 100,000 visitors from 140 countries at press time. The event, from May 23-27, 2023 at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, occupied lobbies and hallways of the IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, filling 130,000 sqm in a venue that has an advertised exhibition hall capacity of only about 100,000 sqm.

Countries such as the UK, Australia and Hungary exhibited under a national pavilion for the first time. France had its first collective stand in 20 years, hosting 21 exhibitors displaying products such as artisanal foods and whiskey.

Sustainable, plant-based and Halal food continued to have strong showings. Cannabis-based products were also showcased now that these have been decriminalised in Thailand since last year.

Big brands such as processed food producer Tyson and cash-and-carry Makro anchored the show, but THAIFEX also paid attention to innovators and start-ups, offering a range of incentives from hosted exhibitor space to awards.

Yi Soyeon of Good Habit from Korea was excited to attend her first THAIFEX. The company was started by students producing a range of products such as instant kombucha powder that has already found distribution channels in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and the US. Yi hopes that Thailand will be next. “Our goal is to find a distributor in Thailand,” she said. “If we do that, we’ll be very happy.”

Karen Cheah, from Singapore-based Alterpacks, was also enthusiastic about attending her first THAIFEX. Her company was initially in the running for the hosted start-up programme, but she did not feel that the free space they were eligible for would be enough to showcase her’s company’s products. Given the pre-show interest Alterpacks had received, she said: “We had to grit our teeth and invest in a booth,” she laughed. Alterpacks has developed technology to produce eco-friendly reusable food containers made from grain by-products that can hold liquids for months, and can be microwaved. The next generation will be able to be heated over an open flame. Cheah has two goals: raise awareness about alternative products and establish contacts with distribution partners.”

Soft Launch of THAIFEX HOREC Asia

A second show dubbed THAIFEX HOREC Asia, to be held from March 6-8, 2024, was soft launched at the fair. It will be dedicated to the hospitality, restaurant and catering sectors.

THAIFEX HOREC Asia is a strategic move to expand the brand’s portfolio, creating a robust eco-system for syngeries between the two trade shows.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the time was right for the new show. “We have to admit that Covid disrupted tourism, but given the current outlook, It’s a good time to extend to THAIFEX HOREC Asia.”

Matthias Kuepper, Koelnmesse managing director and VP Asia-Pacific was quick to point out that Thaifex HORECA will not divert resources from the existing THAIFEX Anuga show. The new show will include categories that are not represented in THAIFEX Anuga such as wellness, furnishings and decoration. Kuepper expects food service equipment, restaurant and kitchen supplies, and segments like the ice cream sector to be strongly represented and is hoping for 300 exhibitors, and 20,000 visitors across 20,000 sqm in the first year.