CHINA – The 8th largest economy in Asia and 18th-largest in the world by purchasing power parity, Taiwan has recorded its highest-ever sales in food and beverage for July amid eased concerns over COVID-19 infections, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Data compiled by the MOEA showed revenue posted by the local food and beverage industry soared by 75.8 percent from a year earlier to NT$74.8 billion (US$2.48 billion).

In addition, the data showed that year-on-year growth was also the highest ever for the industry to have ever attained before.

The local food and beverage industry started to climb out of a pandemic slowdown earlier this year in May when the year-on-year sales growth reached 14.71 percent after declining by 5.77 percent in April.

In June, the year-on-year growth hit 61.67 percent, while July hit the peak of 75.8%, thus the industry has become promising to investors, MOEA said.

In the first seven months of this year, revenue posted by the food and beverage industry rose by 17.3 percent from a year earlier to NT$473.8 billion (US$15.77 b), the second-highest after NT$474.1 billion (US$15.7b) for the same period in 2019, the MOEA added. ( 1TWD ≈ US$0.03308)

In July, sales generated by restaurants and beverage vendors rose by 78.9 percent and 67.2 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to NT$63.4 billion and NT$9.2 billion, while catering service providers posted NT$2.1 billion in sales, up by 35.3 percent year-on-year due to demand for food items on flights as airlines increased their operations, according to the Ministry.

Considering the impressive performance of the food and beverage industry in July, Huang Wei-Chieh, deputy director of MOEA’s Department of Statistics, said the industry had recovered to pre-pandemic levels, noting that for the same month in 2019, revenue was NT$69.4 billion (US$2.3b).

He added that the revenue surge reflected reduced worries over COVID-19 as the government did not raise its alert level to restrict people’s movement despite an increase in domestic cases.

Furthermore, the subsidies introduced by the government to boost local tourism as well as the current summer vacation had resulted in many consumers dining out and traveling, adding that a relatively low comparison base over the same period of last year was also one of the factors behind the growth.

Looking ahead, the MOEA projects the sales in the food and beverage industry to range from NT$75.8 billion to NT$77.4 billion in August, up by 38.4-41.4 percent from a year earlier.

The retail sales are expected to hit NT$352.0 billion to NT$361.6 billion, up by 10.1-13.1 percent while in wholesale businesses they will range between NT$1.02 trillion and NT$1.05 trillion with year-on-year growth ranging from minus 1.3 percent to 1.7 percent.

With the year-end buying spree to come later, Huang forecasts the sales in the food and beverage industry for the entire 2022 to grow from a year earlier, reversing a decline of 4.19 percent in 2020 and a drop of 6.37 percent in 2021.

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