A Thai fish snack manufacturer reveals the secret to his family’s success exporting to countries in the CLMV cluster and beyond, and his reasons for joining the ThaiFEX-World of Food Asia each year.

ThaiFEX-World of Food Asia is growing annually with manufacturers and exporters gathering to showcase their products to tens of thousands of trade visitors.

Nuttapoom Lokunpai, Marketing Manager of Dasamut Company Limited, producer of Full Fish, a fish snack brand based in Samut Sakhon province, says his company attends ThaiFEX every year to meet business partners.

“We are a family business. In the last ten years, we have been building the Full Fish brand that offers fish snacks in many flavours, such as barbeque and crab. This year’s special flavour is spicy Sriracha with a unique Thai taste,” he says.

Lokunpai discloses that the company localises its products each time it enters a new market, with trade fairs serving as a platform to meet and get to know overseas customers.

“One of the fairs we participate in every year is the Department of International Trade Promotion’s Top Thai Brand, where we meet real customers whom we talk to in order to find out how we can improve and adapt our fish snack to the local market,” says Lokunpai.

Full Fish is currently exported to China, South Korea, Australia, Brunei, Malaysia and the CLMV countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Lokunpai adds that the factory manufacturing the snacks has been certified with GMP and Halal standards, thus enabling it to export to Muslim countries.

“Our main export markets are in the CLMV cluster as they have similar cultures to Thais and would enjoy similar types of snacks,” says Lokunpai. “For new exporters, I would advise looking into neighbouring countries first as it is a way to successfully start exporting products. Markets like China have a lot of diversity: each city and each province is very different, and exporters need to do research on consumer preferences and legal restrictions before exporting to these markets.”

Moreover, Lokunpai believes ThaiFEX-World of Food Asia, held annually with the support of the DITP, provides a great opportunity for meeting potential new customers.

“ThaiFEX is one of the leading food fairs in Asia. To export, you need to aim for creating long-term relationships, and you may need to meet business partners many times before there is a deal. ThaiFEX is a great place to showcase our range of products and to meet our partners,” he says.

Held from May 29 to June 2, this year’s ThaiFEX saw over 67,000 trade visitors from 134 countries. Next year, the fair will be held under a new name – THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2020 – and will continue to focus on the Future of Food. It’s scheduled to take place from May 26 to 30, 2020.

Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub