Although the Netherlands is a relatively small market compared with other countries in Europe, its GDP per capita is the second-highest in the European Union (EU), after Luxemburg. The country is known for having a world-class logistics system and in Port of Rotterdam the largest and busiest port in the EU and the 12th largest in the world.
According to Chanunda Sorapukdee, Minister Counsellor (Commercial) and Director of Thai Trade Center, The Hague, the country’s economy is now improving post Covid. After the government relaxed Covid control measures in February, various business sectors are recovering, especially HORECA (HOtel, REstaurant, and CAfé).
“People now come out to shop and dine outsides,” Sorapukdee says. “This has made a good impact on trading and business, especially for Thai restaurants. It is a good opportunity for Thai food and beverage companies to export to the market. Most Dutch know and like Asian and Thai food. Not only dining at restaurants, but since the pandemic people’s lifestyle habits have changed. Ingredients and seasoning for home cooking are becoming more popular.”
To promote Thai restaurants, the Commerce Ministry has granted Thai SELECT status to 20 Thai restaurants in the Netherlands. Thai SELECT is a mark of certification that guarantees the authentic taste of Thai food products and restaurants in Thailand and overseas.
With people increasingly focused on healthy food and also concerned about the BCG (Bio-Circular-Green) economy, there has seen an increase in demand for fruit and vegetables; high nutritional rice such as brown rice and riceberry; and plant-based foods. Dutch are the largest consumers of plant-based food in the EU. Many Dutch consumers become vegan and flexitarian due to concerns about their health, the environment and sustainability. So, they opt for plant-based products and seek packaging that cares for the environment.
According to Thai Commerce Ministry statistics, exports of many Thai products to the Netherlands has increased considerably in 2021. Canned and processed fruit grew by 61.3%, rice exports were up by 30.7%, and products made from rice and seasoning increased by 24.6% and 26% respectively.
There is also an increasing demand for industrial products such as air conditioners, due to higher temperatures in the Netherlands caused by climate change. Last year, exports of air conditioners from Thailand to the Netherlands surged by 42.3%, says Sorapukdee.
The Thai Trade Center in the Hague this year has organised many events and activities related to the food exports promotion. In April, Thai Food Festivals were held in The Hague and Amsterdam, as well as a Pad Thai Cooking Class event in February to promote Thai food, Thai ingredients and sauces.
In addition, the Thai Trade Center in The Hague will this year continue to organise a series of activities and events including in-store promotions at leading modern trade centres and HORECA in Benelux countries.
For more information, please contact [email protected]
Photo courtesy of DITP’s Overseas Office in The Hague, The Netherlands
Words by Petchanet Pratruangkrai