For many years, access to sports supplements in Thailand has been very limited and expensive. The cost alone has been prohibitive for the average Thai to gain access to quality supplements. Fortunately today, there is a wide variety of imported sports supplements such as whey protein available in Thailand at prices similar to that in Europe and Australia.
The registration process for food products in Thailand is notoriously complicated and expensive. For example, a whey protein product needs a separate registration for every size and flavor of essentially the same product. The entire process to register one product can end up costing several thousand dollars and there is no guarantee that the product will even be accepted. Another issue lies with supplement ingredients. The English ingredient needs to be checked against an approved ingredient list which is in Thai. Even though the ingredient exists, if its not in the Thai approved ingredient list chances are the product will be rejected. Fortunately today, the Thai FDA appears to be relaxing their registration process for sports supplements.
Companies such as Dymatize Nutrition and Optimum Nutrition now have official distributors in Thailand and their products are officially registered with the Thai FDA. Prior to this, sports supplements were often smuggled into the country and sold illegally usually at very high prices.
Musashi, an Australian supplement company, has been trading in Thailand for several years and had essentially cornered the market for supplements such as whey protein. Because of this, the company was able to charge extortionate prices giving them a bad reputation in Thailand.
Many new sports supplement retailers have emerged in the past year in Thailand making the market competitive. One such retailer, Phuket Health Shop, now has over 300 imported sports supplements in stock making them one of largest retailers of