Caroline Roux
As a Consultant Analyst, Caroline provides consumer insights and recommendations to dairy companies and tracks global innovation and consumer trends.

While a tiny market globally, Thailand’s retail cheese industry is estimated to be among the fastest growing in the world, recording double-digit growth in both volume and value, according to Mintel research.

In line with this growth, food brands in Thailand are leveraging cheese’s growing popularity and increasingly using it as an ingredient or flavour in their products. Cheese tarts have been taking Asia by storm and this popular foodservice product is helping to introduce cheese to Thai consumers.

In recent years, bakery chains—mostly Japanese—have opened outlets in Thailand. BAKE, for instance, has built a presence across Asia Pacific (including Thailand). Hot on the heels of BAKE, Pablo’s has also expanded into the Thai market. Most recently, Milch by Milch Japan, famous for their specialty cheese cups, has also opened shops in the country.

Cheese takes on a bigger role in food innovation

Introductions of food launches containing cheese has increased in Thailand in recent years. Cheese is mostly found in meals and meal centers, particularly in sandwiches and wraps, which in 2017 accounted for one in five launches of food containing cheese, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).

Owed to the popularity of cheese tarts in foodservice, the share of packaged desserts in retail containing cheese increased significantly in 2017, compared to 2015. Cheese is also appearing in new categories, such as savoury spreads, soups and side dishes.

Yofu Fong Cheese Flavour Crispy Tofu Skin  

Pure Foods Thai Chili & Cheese Sandwich Spread

Shinmai Richy Cheese Flavoured Jasmine Rice Crackers

What we think

Cheese brands might want to leverage the growing popularity of cheese-based desserts sold in foodservice. Thailand’s foodservice sector is helping familiarise consumers with cheese taste and usages, as well as establish cheese’s indulgence credentials. Foodservice opens doors to more cheese innovation in the retail channel, targeting consumers wanting to reproduce at home what they eat in bakeries and restaurants.