It has only been a decade since Myanmar opened its economy to the global market. Since then, the food and beverage (F&B) industry in the country began welcoming regional and global investors to allow the market to expand. The Burmese population, especially those in urban areas, positively accepted foreign brands.
Meanwhile, local players in Myanmar’s F&B market saw growth, especially in native food brands that have expanded in city areas. Many of the country’s popular chain brands, meanwhile, found a market in Myanmar’s growing middle-class population.
The country enacted a law that attracted more foreign investments, and foreign food brands took advantage to expand in the country.
What is the current state of F&B in Myanmar, and are there opportunities for both local and foreign players to establish and grow their brands in the country? Let’s look at the industry’s post-pandemic situation and what is to come for Myanmar’s F&B market.
Myanmar is an agricultural economy. The industry contributes up to 30% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
As the GDP per capita increased from 2014 to 2019, so did the consumers’ purchasing power. Around this time, foreign food brands have already established stores in the country’s urban areas, creating a healthy competitive environment for F&B in Myanmar.
However, the pandemic hit the growth of F&B in Myanmar. As consumers prioritized more essential goods rather than in-store dining. In 2021, the military also took over the government, and the local economy has seen contractions in the past year.
The military government is yet to take any steps forward towards post-pandemic recovery and driving economic activity.
This drove many expatriates away from the country, which has also closed its borders at the height of the pandemic, removing the presence of foreign tourists. These consumer bases were crucial in the growth of Myanmar’s F&B market, and it proved difficult to stay afloat in the industry in the last two years.
Prior to the lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the F&B industry in Myanmar was seeing growth thanks to the month-on-month increase in tourist arrivals.
As the country experienced two waves of the spread of the virus, many enterprises lost revenue from in-store dining and beverage sales. Catering businesses couldn’t get any business at all during this time.
Myanmar has a very diverse food culture, and there are still plenty of opportunities in the F&B industry for local and foreign players to explore. Innovations that allow businesses to reach more customers, such as pre-packaged food, special events, and online sales, can drive sales and revenue for Myanmar’s F&B market.
The shift to the digital marketplace will also prove to be helpful for F&B businesses in Myanmar. Many marketing efforts, as well as sales, can be conducted online, and it will be easier to reach potential customers while also allowing businesses to maintain their overhead costs. Small businesses can also take advantage of this time to offer good quality homemade food without needing to have the capacity to open their own restaurants.
The country’s food market revenue is projected to see a 9.09% compounded annual growth rate from 2022 to 2027, with confectionery and snacks having the highest volume of sales.
These can be included in the experiences offered by F&B brands to increase their market share among consumers. There are many ways for businesses to still expand, and every step forward can be a step in the right direction for the F&B industry in Myanmar.
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