FRIDAY, April 19, 2024
nationthailand

Health on the menu: Thailand’s growing appetite for personalized food

Health on the menu: Thailand’s growing appetite for personalized food

Personalized food is a fast-growing trend as more individuals seek ways to improve their public health and prevent diseases.

Forecasts show the global market for personalized food could reach 3 trillion baht by next year thanks to an average annual growth rate of 12%.

This trend is driven by several factors, including an aging society, heightened health awareness post-COVID pandemic, and advances in food technology.

Beyond medical treatments, food and lifestyle adjustments are increasingly recognised as crucial to improving health in individuals with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, kidney issues, high cholesterol, cancer, high blood pressure, and others.

The concept of “food as medicine" is gaining traction in healthcare and disease management strategies.

According to Krungthai COMPASS Research Center, personalized food refers to food that contains essential nutrients tailored to suit an individual's lifestyle, health status, and genetic makeup.

This approach aims to promote sustainable good health and includes foods tailored for specific groups such as the overweight, athletes, individuals with NCDs and the elderly, among others.

Health on the menu: Thailand’s growing appetite for personalized food

Personalised food can be divided into ready-made meals for specific groups, ready-made meals for individuals, restaurants for specific groups, and restaurants for individuals.

For example, Verdify, a FoodTech company from the Netherlands, designs meals tailored to people who want a low-salt or low-carb diet.

The UK’s Vita Mojo uses DNAfit’s self-test results to help consumers choose meals based on their genetics.

In Thailand, the personalised food trend market is forecast to reach 54.6 billion baht by 2025, with average annual growth of 14.2%.

Among Thai companies meeting the demand is Green and Organic Ltd, which produces ready-to-eat meals designed for people with kidney disease, cancer, and other non-communicable diseases, along with consultations with nutritionists.

The focus is on Thai cuisine, using fresh seasonal ingredients and herbs to enhance flavour.

More than 200 menu options are available and the company says it currently delivers about 70,000 meals per year to homes.

Around 80% of its clients are kidney disease sufferers while the rest have cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

Thirty percent live in Greater Bangkok.

Health on the menu: Thailand’s growing appetite for personalized food

"The personalised food market is predicted to grow by around 30%,” said Chalakarn Wisutthiphitakul, Green and Organic’s managing director.

She said demand is being driven by increasing health awareness among younger generations, especially Gen Z, who are willing to spend more on health-related products.

Also, more adults are purchasing personalised food for parents and the expanding market of elderly consumers.

“As a company we expect to grow along with this trend," she said.

Green and Organic has collaborated on a government draft policy for preventive care to reduce national healthcare expenses and is backing a strategy for doctors to prescribe low-sodium, low-fat, and low-sugar diets.

It also supports nutrition seminars and workshops held by the Public Health Ministry and other state bodies.

Looking ahead the company plans to expand into exports by shipping health food products and seasonings to the Middle East by the year’s end.

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