Thailand’s instant noodle exports soar thanks to COVID-19

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BANGKOK – The exports of instant noodles soared in the first quarter of this year, especially in Southeast Asia, thanks to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the Department of Trade Negotiations.



Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the department, said the pandemic caused people to stay home and thus increasingly demand dried and instant food that could be stored for a long period.

Instant noodles were among the products that met present demand because their preparation was quick, their prices were cheap, their flavors were numerous and they were generally available and could be kept for a long time, she said.



Ms Auramon said Thailand’s instant noodle exports grew by 11% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year and their export value amounted to US$57.8 million.

Southeast Asia was the biggest market consuming 54.8% of all the exports. Thailand exported instant noodles worth US$31.7 million to Southeast Asian nations during the period. The value increased by 27.3% year-on-year. Cambodia was the biggest Southeast Asian market, consuming half the exports to the region, followed by Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

The second biggest market was the Netherlands that bought 9.2% of all Thai instant noodle exports, followed by the United States (6.6%), Australia (5.1%) and France (3.1%).

Last year Thailand was the third biggest exporter of processed noodles following China and South Korea.

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Ms Auramon said that Southeast Asia was an important market of instant noodles and deserved serious consideration because its population was huge and people shared common favorite flavours of foods.

According to her, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia were among the top 15 countries in terms of instant noodle consumption. In 2019 Thailand’s instant noodle exports to Southeast Asian nations were valued at US$119.35 million, growing by 31% from 2018.