Water and food have always been the basic factor behind the survival of life on the earth. However, the human desire for better and better comforts and facilities has constantly contributed a lot to what developments and achievements we see around in the modern times. Amid the nations' race for buying and selling weapons from each other to ensure their strong defence, the international food market has equally emerged as a potent factor towards revolutionizing industry, technology, manufacturing, packaging, transportation and marketing.

Food and beverages fairs and exhibitions are organized in almost every region of the world where international producers, manufactures as well as companies interact with each other to seal business deals. The Thaifex World Food Asia 2018 was the latest attraction of traders, held at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre, Bangkok, Thailand, from May 29 to June 1, 2018. No doubt, it was a highly engaging and multi-sensory show, with its 15th annual edition, that has successfully served the best of the world's food and beverages industry under the one roof.

Thaifex World Food Asia is the leading annual international trade exhibition for food & beverages, foodservice technology, retail & franchise in Asia. The event provides a rich opportunity to meet and establish new business networks.

Jointly organized by world leader in organizing food and food technology events, Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), and the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), the event witnessed synergistic collaboration between the private and public sectors to deliver a truly international food and beverages unparalleled in quality and diversity.

With the remarkable trade show presence, the THAIFEX-World of Food Asia is witnessing a comparatively improved presence of exhibitors and importers on annual basis. This time, the exhibition hosted over 2,537 exhibitors from as many as 39 countries mostly from South East Asia and over 60,000 visitors covering about 117,000 square metres in 11 mega halls with an increase of 14 per cent as compared to that of the last year. In 2017, this food and beverages event hosted over 40 business groups from Thailand, with overseas participation of over 50 per cent and over 55,000 visitors covering 93,000 square meters of the exhibition area.

Inaugurating the Tahifex exhibition, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Somkid Jatusripitak, was quite hopeful that the food and beverages industry would be attracting huge business deals between international companies from across the world especially from the Asian states. Mr Somkit said Thailand has the potential to produce a variety of raw materials, while innovation and technology can be used to enhance the quality of the country's food industry throughout the entire production process from manufacturing, packaging and transportation. The Deputy Prime Minister added that the Ministry of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce must take advantage of global awareness of Thai food by helping businesses to sell their products abroad through online platforms. On the occasion, he assured the Thai government's full support in facilitating as well as promoting the business activities through this mega food event.

In her remarks, Director General DITP, Chantia Jireivat Vivatrat, said that with Thailand's GDP at 4 per cent, they have strategically introduced varios measures and incentives. She added that the Thaifex World Food Asia continues to be a valuable platform to advance the growth of Thai food exports to the world, and they are looking forward to the opportunities tha the trade show would open up for the Thai businesses.

Continued for five days, the food and beverages event focused on five major groups - drinks, sweets confectionery, seafood/frozen food, hotel/restaurant/catering, and fine food. Out of total 2537 exhibitors, 765 were related to Halal food, 676 of health & functional food, 616 private labels, 431 about vegetarian products while 354 were about organic products. China was the top country whose 1652 exhibitors participated in the Thaifex event after Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Myanmar and other states.

Main feature of the event was the Halal foods and beverages. These products range from meat, sweets, beverages to confectionaries. The data of Halal food industry shows that majority of the Halal products are made by the non-Muslim states like Brazil, Thailand, India, Argentina, Russia, France and Australia. Brazil tops these states with over 17 billion US dollars annual Halal food exports to the OIC states alone. The Tahifex exhibition hosted around 700 companies who showcased their diverse Halal products. At the same time, there exists a misperception that non-Muslim states normally produce non-Halal products and food items. However, the world statistics negates this impression as most of the Halal foods and beverages are produced in non-Muslim states. So business giants from Muslim states can explore the opportunity through the Thaifex exhibition to expand their businesses.

Organic market and Franchise market were the other two shows of the event. The organic market received over 300 companies this time with a wide variety of product offerings on organic products and new trends, while the franchise market hosted over 30 enterprises offering diverse opportunities of business expansion.

The event has a longstanding reputation across the globe. It focuses not only Thais but also targets visitors and business people worldwide who can meet and negotiate trade deals. The DITP specifically has joined hands with concerned agencies to support Thai businesses exporting food products and services by going for strategic marketing, seeking new markets and developing the potential of Thai operators to compete in the world competitors. And the Thaifex - World of Food Asia is a mechanism to achieve these goals.

The food industry in South East Asia is rapidly gaining ground with a remarkable growth and potential. The organizers say that purpose of this international event is to help raise the AEAN businesses in the global food and beverages industry, and to help international businesses gain entry into the effervescent region. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020, ASEAN will become the world's fifth largest economy. Statistics show that more than 60 million households in ASEAN are part of the 'consuming class' with incomes exceeding the level at which they can begin to make significant discretionary purchases. That number could almost double to 125 million households by 2025, making ASEAN a pivotal consumer market of the future. The Thaifex - World of Food Asia, situated at the heart of ASEAN, is well-poised to facilitate and multiply business opportunities in this thriving and expanding market.

As the number of Halal food companies is increasing to this annual Thai food event, Pakistan, which has a huge potential to export Halal foods especially meat and dairy products, should explore opportunities to boost its exports. This, however, needs an encouraging as well as fair environment on the part of authorities in Pakistan.

This year's new feature was Argentina -- the country with a great potential in the food industry as partner country. Making its debut, it saw about 30 exhibitors under its pavilion, including Consejo Federal De Inversioners. Business or trade days were increased to 5 days this year, giving participants the connections to build networks and new business prospects, which will help fuel the food and drink industry on the road to robust growth.

The trajectory of annual growth strengthens the notion that the Thaifex World Food Asia is set capture increased attraction of world food companies, setting an envious route for others to follow. The world is open to all, however, quality and perfection are the benchmarks to capture world markets.