Grocery trucks to the rescue; Thailand’s past comes to rescue its future

Long thought to be a vision of the past, what with 7-11s and mini-marts popping up throughout the country, old-school mobile grocery trucks have come back into vogue amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A prominent feature of Thai life in years gone by, grocery products sold on the back of a pick-up accompanied by loudspeakers and grouchy aunties are making a comeback as Thais hunker down and wait out the virus.

Thais call these trucks, which normally carry products straight from the fresh market to the front of your house or soi, as “phum-phung” trucks.

The name is derived from the truck’s appearance where most of the fresh products, such as meats and vegetables, are put inside plastic bags and hung all over the back of the pickup truck.

Apart from meats and vegetables, these trucks also sell other key ingredients for cooking such as different kinds of sauces and other dry products such as garlic and dried shrimp. Since the outbreak, customers have been asking these trucks to pick up other products such as facemasks and hand sanitizations as well.    

Seeing the increasing demand, the Internal Trade Department (ITD) has launched 200 such vehicles that have registered with the department to carry out 7 products including rice, eggs, palm oil, instant noodles, canned fish and hand sanitizers to be sold to consumers at cheap prices.

Commerce minister Jurin Laksanavisit said while ITD’s personnel will be checking the cleanliness of these trucks and that more tucks will be on the way if there is more demand. He also said that the ministry is calling for a meeting with delivery businesses and retailers to find out what they need to make sure that people can still get food and other products sent to their homes amid the lockdown.  

(Photo Credit: NgernTidLor)

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