Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Demand for flour on the rise

Demand for flour on the rise

An employee shapes dough into bread rolls at a bakery in Phnom Penh last year.
An employee shapes dough into bread rolls at a bakery in Phnom Penh last year. Hong Menea

Demand for flour on the rise

Wheat products have never had a big market in Cambodia, where meals revolve around rice, but Western influences are increasingly shaping local tastes and creating an appetite for flour products.

According to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, market demand for wheat products has doubled in the last decade as the number of bakeries rises and baked goods hit supermarket shelves. Cambodia imported nearly $13 million of wheat flour in 2015 and is on track for another strong year.

A representative from Asia Flour Mill Corp, one the country’s two biggest domestic flour millers, said the majority of raw flour is imported from Vietnam, China and Singapore.

Ngoun Sophea, a seller at Sampovmeas Wheat Flour Depot, a wholesaler for Asia Flour, said the growth in demand can be seen in nearly 100 bakeries operating in Phnom Penh, including chains such as Tous Les Jours, Bread Talk and Bayon Bakery.

“If compared to the last five years, the flour market has increased by 20 per cent,” he said, adding that he supplies nearly 1,000 tonnes of flour per month to local bakeries.

Sophea said a change in traditional meal habits was a driving force in the uptake of wheat. He estimated that nearly 70 per cent of consumers have replaced part of their traditional breakfast and lunch with flour products, namely due to the accessibility of bread that sells for only 500 to 1,000 riel.

“There is a big market for bakeries that cater for garment workers because it is cheaper and more convenient than rice,” he pointed out.

Ouk Puthy, assistant director of Bayon Bakery, a local bakery chain that will open its 13th branch next month, said Cambodians were also moving toward a higher consumption of baked goods as they integrate Western practices into their traditional culture.

For example, he said, cakes at weddings have become increasingly popular over traditional weddings festooned with fruits.

“A lot of our customers are ordering cakes for weddings and birthdays, and I see this as Cambodians wanting to update themselves to more modern and European styles,” she said.

The bakery is also popular with customers purchasing bread to take to their workplace, she said.

While Bayon Bakery sources some of its raw materials from Asia Flour Mill, Puthy said the company also imports directly from Australia and New Zealand to keep up with demand.

“Our production keeps increasing, so we need to make sure that we order quality flour to ensure that our bread has good flavour,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,