ThaiFex - World of Food Asia 2017
Trade shows do not usually interest me, but trade shows about food? That's quite a different story.
The 5-day ThaiFex 2017 took place recently in Bangkok was a great example. Co-organised by Department of International Trade Promotion of Thailand, top international trade fair organizer Koelnmesse and Thai Chamber of Commerce, ThaiFex was indeed Asian's gateway to the global food & beverage industry. The first 3 days were for trade only, but the public was invited to come in over the weekend, to see, taste, smell and be mesmerized by the myriads of F&B items and food samples.
Just take a look at these stats:
93,500 square meter, 9 huge exhibition halls, 46 participating countries, 2100+ exhibiting companies showcasing products and services divided into these categories: Halal, Health & Functional Food, Private labels, Ingredients, Vegetarian, Organic, Gluten-free, Kosher, Vegan, Finger Food and Franchise. Further broken-down topics include Fine Food, Seafood, Sweets and Confectionery, Meat & Poutry, Ready to Eat, Coffee and Tea, Drinks, Food Technology, and of course, Rice, most of which were grown and produced in Thailand: Organic, Jasmine, White, Brown, Parboiled, Glutinous, Fragrant and Broken; in natural forms, noodle strands and/or ground; as well as flavoured, cooked, dried then vacuum-packed.
To say ThaiFex is where key players, established producers and newcomers mingle and check each other out is an understatement. ThaiFex is the largest F&B trade show of its kind in Asia that puts the spotlight on Asian food products, in any shape or form; fresh, canned, frozen or dried; to be processed and cooked; or to be consumed as is. I saw and tasted vegetarian or fruit such as coconut products in whole, slices, pieces and powder form. There were dehydrated meals in dried, vacuum packs. Beautifully-packaged organic products to eat, smell, drink and applied to our bodies and skins that can do wonders to our daily lives.
Truth be told, it was impossible for anyone to pace through all 9 halls in 5-days, not to mention finding time to attend some of the very informative and inspiring seminars. A quick study of the directory was highly recommended in order to map out where and what to explore. If I had the time, I would love to find out what Norway, Poland and Turkey were showcasing and learn more about Halal, Kosher, Organic and Ingredients, and watched at least a couple of the Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenges and Cooking Demonstrations.
Since my schedule was very tight and rice was my focus, I spent half the time browsing at stalls showcasing bins/bags/packages and brochures of rice. Interestingly, there're a number of certified social enterprises in Thailand that work with rice farmers. One that stood out is Siam Organic (www.siamorganic.net ), a young company behind Jasberry - claimed to be the No. 1 Healthiest Rice. Their motto is "Transforming farmers' lives, one grain at a time". While Jasberry is a fine hybrid rice product that falls into the category of specialty grains such as quinoa, the company tells the profound story of rice farmers, the culture and history of rice-farming, as well as their challenges, transformation and progress.