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Thaifex 2019 Recap: Crashing tuna prices, a shrunken Thai shrimp sector and a new home for pangasius

IntraFish is on the show floor at this year's Thaifex World of Food Asia. Keep checking back for news, insights and interviews.

May 30 2019 3.09pm ICT

Who should pay for sustainable product?

For international shelf-stable seafood brand Nautilus, increasing sustainability demands from distribution channels throws up a challenge in that their consumers are not ready to pay a marked up price for canned fish.

The company has looked into Marine Stewardship Council certification and pole and line sourcing but says the whole chain of custody process is too expensive when they can't charge a premium for the product, Regional Sales Director Suganya Chotigasthid told IntraFish.

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May 30 2019 1.40pm ICT

A home for Ayam in Thailand?

If you have ever lived in or visited Malaysia or Singapore you will know the Ayam brand as synonymous with canned fish, particularly tuna.

In Thailand, however, Ayam is just finding its niche with greater competition and a less recognized brand.

Marketing Manager for Ayam brand in Thailand Warangkana Uthairatnitikul is confident there is a home here for the premium brand products.

"Consumer trends here are changing," Uthairatnitikul told IntraFish. "The Thai consumer is now willing to pay more for a better quality product."

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May 30 2019 1.01pm ICT

Ramadan drives tuna price to new low

The festival of Ramadan, where the huge international Muslim community fasts during the hours of daylight is a large contributing factor to the low tuna prices plaguing the Thai industry an exec with Thai canned tuna company Diamond Food Product told IntraFish. Read more...

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May 30 2019 11.45am ICT

From 100 to 20: The consolidation of Thai shrimp processing

The Thai shrimp sector looks very different to six years ago, when the industry produced 600,000 metric tons of shrimp and was home to more than 100 processors. Today, just 250 metric tons is produced and processors have been reduced to just 20, an exec with the second largest buyer told IntraFish.

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May 29 2019 3.45pm ICT

A Thai home for Nissui's Chilean trout processing

For Japanese giant Nissui, southern Thailand provides a happy home for its salmon trout processing factory. Shipping product from Chile, the product is processed by Thai workers in the southern state of Songkhla before 95 percent is exported to Japan.

Why Thailand? "Skillful Thai processors," and tax-free importing, unlike the company's China operations, which have become "more tricky" in the last few years, President of Nissui Thailand Shinji Teramoto told IntraFish. Read more...

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May 29 2019 3.27pm ICT

Will transformation bring a better future for Thai shrimp?

For publicly-listed Thai shrimp producer Seafresh, low prices are "not so good," but the industry is undergoing a transformation that will hopefully prepare it for the future, in terms of traceability and environment.

"The industry has completely changed [since the years prior to Early Mortality Syndrome hitting the sector]," Marketing and Sales Division Manager Wachiraporn Satirayakorn told IntraFish, echoing comments of many other shrimp producers we are speaking to here.

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May 29 2019 12.43pm ICT

Godaco putting its eggs in several baskets

For another significant Vietnamese pangasius producer at the show this year, market diversification is important. Like Hung Ca, Godaco has seen rapid growth in Thai and other South East Asian markets for pangasius and with the current political and pricing situation in the United States, is also keen to spread its risk.

"It is a political situation and also competition from other fish and other proteins," Nhan Nguyen from the head management team, told IntraFish.

"But when other prices increase, the market will start looking for other, more affordable and better tasting product."

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May 29 2019 12.32pm ICT

Tuna's newest entrant

A can maker and subsequently pineapple canner for the last 40 years, Thailand's Star Cannery took a request from a customer in the Middle East for canned fish two years ago and ran with it, now producing 5-10 tons per day of canned tuna, mackerel and sardines.

Its managing director is keen to "stay humble" (and as such, unnamed), but will follow the trends of the market and bigger buyers, he said, giving a nod to the large Thai Union booth behind his.

"In future, people will be looking for new, cooler formats [than cans], but it takes investment. We will develop slowly," he told IntraFish.

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May 29 2019 11.25am ICT

Vinh Hoan looking for its niche

For Vinh Hoan, the Thai market is less of a boon than for Hung Ca, but Sales Director Hoa Truong is positive there is a niche for them.

"Every year I come here, it is very interesting. It is a market with a lot of innovation," she told IntraFish.

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May 29 2019 11am ICT

Pangasius finds growing demand in Thailand

Thailand is a booming market for Vietnam pangasius giant Hung Ca, growing 10 percent year on year to 250 metric tons a month of frozen fillets, Sales Executive Dang Phuoc Huu told IntraFish.

New markets are key right now for the producer who has been slapped with large import tariffs into the United States, traditionally its largest market.

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May 28 2019 4.14pm ICT

SeaValue ups its game in stagnant tuna market

Shelf-stable seafood is a tough place to be, but Thai canned seafood giant SeaValue thinks it has found a path, adding value to a traditional products with a stagnant market, Marketing Manager Lolita Dussadeevutikul told IntraFish. Read more...

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May 28 2019 2.20pm ICT

Chicken putting shrimp in the shade at Surapon

For Thai food giant Surapon Foods, there is reducing focus on shrimp because chicken is proving a more reliable protein source for the company.

"We are worried in the future about the supply and price of shrimp," Business Development Supervisor Ekkachai Jamjun told IntraFish.

Nonetheless the THB 5 billion (€140.7 million/$157.4 million) company launched a new product at the show, the shrimp fritter.

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May 28 2019 1.27pm ICT

Meet the man behind Singapore's salmon ATMs

IntraFish sat down with Manish Kumar, the founder of Norwegian Salmon. By the end of July, the company will have 100 ATMs selling individual frozen salmon fillets across Singapore.

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May 28 2019 12.00pm ICT

Thai shrimp production: Lower volumes bring new focus

The Thai shrimp industry has changed dramatically since the Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) crisis of 2012, and investments in quality, the environment and labor are now the focus, an exec with one of Thailand’s largest value-added shrimp processors told IntraFish.

“I don’t think Thailand will go back to producing 600,000 metric tons again,” said Nuntawun Rujiwong, assistant to the senior director at Thai Royal Frozen Food (TRF). Read more...

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May 28 2019 11.14am ICT

Online demand adding margin for Thai shrimp processor

Thai shrimp producer and processor Lee Heng Seafood has seen a shift in Asian shrimp markets as increasing online consumer sales re-shape the product offering.

The company’s Chan Kok Leen told IntraFish that while product used to be largely sold in 1 to 2 kilogram packages, now processors are having to adapt to package in 150 to 200 gram servings. Read more...

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May 27 2019 7.34pm ICT

Welcome to Bangkok

Storm clouds and seafood execs are gathering this evening in Bangkok as exhibitors get ready for one of Asia's biggest food shows.

IntraFish will be here, sitting down with some of the big names in seafood and bringing you all the latest on Thai production and markets.

Have a story or want to meet the team? Stop by our IntraFish booth Hall 3, L40.

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