28 September 2010

Krispy Kreme invades Thailand with first store location

Former Atkins diet casualty, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, announced the opening of its first location in the Kingdom of Thailand by its franchisee KDN Company Limited.

According to a release, the new store is located in Bangkok’s Siam Paragon shopping center right in the heart of the city’s business district.

"We are very happy to be part of the growing international Krispy Kreme family," said Ausanee Mahagitsiri, chief executive officer of KDN Company Limited. "The team here is excited to bring smiles to the Thai people by sharing exceptional Krispy Kreme products, especially the hot Original Glazed doughnut, with consumers in Bangkok."

Those “smiles” might be short lived as the “Venice of the East” is leading the way in Thailand’s march towards obesity statistics that rival the west.

Murray Head once sang, "one night in Bangkok can make a hard man humble" and when considering the ever growing popularity of fast food in Thailand’s capital city, the humbling might originate from the sight of one’s own protruding stomach.

A study conducted in 2008 by the Kasikorn Research Centre, revealed that the people of Thailand eat out an average of 13 times per week, the most of any Southeast Asian country. The same research showed that Bangkokians dine out more often than their counterparts who live in the northeast region of the nation—people in this area of Thailand prefer cooking their own fare.

Dr. Saming Kaocharoen who represents the group Khon Thai Rai Poon which translates to Thais without bulging bellies—yes it’s real—claims that from 1986 to 2004, the prevalence of overweight individuals in Thailand has grown 7.5 times.

And not surprisingly, just as it is here in the west, children are greatly affected by the cultural shift to fast unhealthy foods.

The Thai Public Health Ministry reported earlier this year that there has been a 40% increase in obesity in children under the age of six over the past five years with approximately 22 million people over the age of 15 considered obese.

When a nation’s people suffer from high rates of obesity, disease is surely to follow.

Nearly 10%, 2.4 million, adults suffer from diabetes in Thailand. By way of comparison, the U.S. has a 7.8% prevalence of diabetes in adults. Shocked? There goes that healthy anti-disease Asian diet.

Hey but help is on the way, Krispy Kreme intends to open 20 store locations across Thailand over the next five years. Welcome to western life.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney
Eric is the co-founder & executive editor of This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his TDIV work, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/ableman