11 July 2024

Bangkokians are expected to spend around Bt4.76 billion during the annual vegetarian festival this year. Although the figure is up 2.4 percent from last year, the growth is weaker than that of last year because slowing economy prompts people to curb their spending this year, according to a survey by Kasikorn Research Center.

At any rate, the annual Kin Jae festival is helping feed Bangkok residents’ growing appetite for vegetarian food, with the participating population rising from 57.1 percent to 66.7 percent this year. The rise reflects a trend towards healthier lifestyles especially among the new generation of consumers.

Kasikorn Research Center also found from its survey that due to the changing market behavior, the new generation and the elder consumers have played a more prominent role in the food market.

Meanwhile, Bangkok’s Chinatown is ready to kick off the annual vegetarian festival this year from September 28 to October 7.

Mr. Prasit Ongwattana, Chairman of the Thai-Chinese Association and the chair of the vegetarian festival organizing committee in Yaowarat, said this year’s event will also be held to celebrate the accession to the throne of His Majesty the King.

The event will be jointly organized with collaboration among local residents, restaurant operators and sponsors. One of the highlights of the event in Yaowarat is a giant bowl of “golden dragon” noodles.

Yaowarat has been a main tourist attraction during the annual festival. Yellow flags have already been decorated with crowds of tourists and food stalls offering a variety of flavorful vegan dishes in the buzzing neighborhood.

In addition to people of Chinese descent who refrain from eating meat to purify their body and mind during the festival, many Thais observe non-meat consumption during the festival. Some people have taken up the habit of consuming vegetarian food even after the festival for health benefits.

The growing popularity of vegetarian food provides a tailwind to the related business operators. Sales of vegetable, edible vegetable oil, soy beans and plant-based protein substitutes often spike during the 10-day festival.

Food companies and restaurants have also capitalized on the trend by extending their variety of vegetarian offerings by highlighting health benefits and fully nutritious qualities that their products provide.