(Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information via COMTEX)
Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc (CPF) has shifted its focus to smaller sizes of ready-to-eat packaged food and green labelling to improve exports as the world slides into recession.
Thailand's largest food exporter has seen orders from Europe fall 15-20 percent this year due mainly to the global financial crisis, said Nopphadon Sirijongdee, senior vice-president for food processing and poultry business.
Europe and Japan are its top two overseas markets for poultry. Shipments to Japan are up due to rising food safety concerns over Chinese products, he said.
"During the crisis, consumers tend to buy food from stores more frequently than dining out in restaurants. This is a growing opportunity for small packages of ready-to-eat food such as those priced one euro or one dollar each," he said.
As well, food with green labelling has growth potential as consumers all over the world have greater concerns over environmental-friendly products. By taking part in the Thailand-European Union carbon footprint labelling initiatives, CPF aims to have products with carbon labels on shelves of giant European retailers by 2010, starting with snacks.
CPF and two other Thai food producers -- Cargill Meats (Thailand) and Thai Union Manufacturing Co -- have been selected to join a Thailand-EU collaborative programme to strengthen competitiveness of Thai food exports to the EU through carbon labelling.
Carbon footprint labels tell consumers the amount of carbon emitted during the product's life cycle so they can make wise purchases if concerned about the environment.
"The use of carbon footprint labels is wholly voluntary. However, with the higher demand for products with low carbon labels from EU retailers, the option of having your product certified with the carbon label will help Thai products stand out to increasingly environmentally conscious European consumers," said Samuel Cantell, deputy head of operations at the European Commission delegation in Bangkok.
The project aims at transferring EU expertise and practical experiences to Thailand. The EU funds 75 percent of its budget of 264.75 million, with matching funds from implementing partners.
According to the United Nations Human Development Report 2007-08, Thailand ranked seventh in Asia after China, India, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Indonesia among the world's top emitters of carbon dioxide.
Thailand's CO2 emissions grew 12.8 percent over the last 15 years, the second fastest growth rate worldwide after Malaysia.
CPF shares closed yesterday at 3.48 baht, up six satang, in trade worth 24.75 million baht.
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