The “Taste of Thailand” event which is currently
underway at five of Tesco’s biggest stores around London was a clear
indication of the company’s commitment to promote Thai products, Tesco
Lotus chairman, Sunthorn Arunanondchai said last week.
Tesco UK, the parent company of Tesco Lotus, is holding
the event to showcase a selection of Thai products in its Beckton, Lea
Valley, Yeading, Hayes and Brent Park stores. Sunthorn, who traveled to the
UK last month to inspect the stores where the promotion is taking place,
said the promotion is intended to raise awareness of Thai food and products
and stimulate sales.
The promotion is the latest initiative in a continuing
drive to support Thai products which had seen the value of Thai products
purchased by Tesco increase to 5.7 billion baht this year. Support for Thai
products took a major step forward in September 2003 when the then deputy
prime minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, met the chief executive of Tesco PLC,
Sir Terry Leahy, as part of his international promotion of Thai exports.
Since their meeting, sales of Thai products to Tesco have
increased more than 35% to their current level. Vegetable producers have
already seen the opportunity with exports of seven different types of corn
exceeding 1,500 tonnes and representing around 500 million baht in the last
year. While development of fruit production has been less rapid, the
opportunity for future growth is emerging as Tesco buyers are currently
working on the development of sources for a range of fruit including dragon
fruit, rambutan, longan, mangosteen and green coconut.
Tesco’s effort to promote and purchase Thai products
has had a dual benefit, said Sunthorn. “Not only has there been a
substantial lift in exports to the UK as British customers become more aware
of the quality of Thai products, but the assistance the company has given
Thai producers to understand and achieve international standards has also
“There are still challenges, but the reward for Thai
producers who can meet the necessary international standards and deliver
value is access to the largest retailer in the UK. It is a great opportunity
for Thai producers.”
The ‘Taste of Thailand’ promotion includes popular products such as
curry sauce, satay, fish sauce, wonton, noodles, bamboo shoots, coconut milk
and rice. Famous Thai fruits such as rambutan, mangosteen, custard apple,
mango, and dragon fruit are also featured in the promotion alongside tasty
Thai vegetables including yard long beans, bitter gourd, galangal, ginger,
flowering chives, turmeric, chilies and fresh lemongrass.