Dateline Southeast Asia

Thailand to introduce new sugar tax over six years

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags sugar tax Food Sugar Kuala lumpur

Thailand will phase in a sugar tax over six years in a bid to help drinks manufacturers to lower their sugar content and take advantage of a simultaneous lowering of tax on sugar-free beverages.

According to the Excise Department, these taxes will be cut by 20-30% over the first three years of the policy, beginning on September 16.

The sugar tax, meanwhile, will be increased over two phases. After the fourth year, the tax rate on drinks that still contain sugar beyond the World Health Organisation’s standard of 6g per 100ml will be doubled, and will be increased further in the sixth year.

Though no tax rate has been specified yet, it will come in addition to standard duties that will also come into effect in September, and will be based on how much sugar a drink contains. The higher the sugar content, the higher the tax.

Nutthakorn Utensute, a director of the Excise Department, said he hoped the policy would prompt manufacturers to adjust their sweetening formulas, and stressed that it had been designed to improve health and not to generate revenue.

Tax on non-alcoholic drinks is worth up to THB20bn (US$600m). It is not yet known which beverage categories will be brought under the new tax code.

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Food entrepreneurs get their own reality show

Production is underway on a new reality web series that will follow food start-ups.


The 12-episode Meallions will premier on YouTube in October and conclude in Singapore, where finalists will have to sell their products on street markets.

It will begin in India and feature 15 Asian start-ups pitching their ideas for new food products with the ultimate goal of breaking into the global market. The entrepreneurs will live together for for first nine episodes as they compete for a spot in the semi-finals.

Ivan Sidorok, co-owner of one of Russia’s largest food companies, NGMK, devised the show and will appear as a mentor for the novice entrepreneurs.

Mabius Food Startup Centre, founded by Sidorok in 2014, will act as a professional expert, helping select start-ups and mentors to take part in the series and in shaping the show’s content and format. 

The main idea of ‘Meallions’ is to bring food start-up communities together around promising food industry markets, to inspire global cooperation among entrepreneurs from large developing regions, and to identify business enthusiasts who have the courage to dream big and help them realise their potential​,” said Sidorok. 

I’m sure that the future of niche products are ideas that come ‘from below’. It’s the young people without much experience in FMCG but who have a unique vision—not the big R&D departments of large corporations—that will set the hottest trends in the food industry, and as a result, create a driving force for global markets​.”

Bell plans Kuala Lumpur office for Asian flavours operation

Bell Flavours and Fragrances will open a Malaysian office to boost its presence in Asia-Pacific


Bell will leverage the sales and warehousing network of Sillage Aromatique, which it acquired from Nardev Chemie last October. The company is currently completing the acquisition process, which will secure Sillage’s offices in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The new office will be located in Kuala Lumpur and will function primarily as a sales office with warehousing and local delivery capabilities, alongside a satellite sales office in the northern state of Penang. 

Bell currently has 11 manufacturing plants and over 40 sales offices across the world.

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