Vietnamese appetite grows for Japanese food products

09:12 | 05/09/2017 Trade

(VEN) - According to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Vietnam is a promising market for Japanese food products. Data show that Vietnam was the seventh largest importer of Japanese farm products and food in 2016, in terms of value. 

vietnamese appetite grows for japanese food products
Japanese food companies present their products in Ho Chi Minh City

At a recent business connection meeting in Hanoi, Japanese companies presented various kinds of food products, such as rice, noodles, beef, seafood, fresh fruit, canned fruit juice, wine, cakes, and powered milk.

Amanoto is the Japanese name of a kind of jam presented by the Tsukamoto Co. Ltd. A company representative said the firm wants to bring Japanese cultural traditions to Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam.

The Ichioka Vietnam Co. Ltd. has found that Vietnamese consumers like Japanese confectionery. Mochi, a kind of Japanese rice cake introduced in Vietnam in July 2016 is an example. The FamilyMart convenience stores chain sells more than 1,000 Doraemon pancakes, also called Dorayaki, per day. The Aeon supermarket chain orders mochi every week and buys large volumes on special occasions, such as the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Ichioka Vietnam Co. Ltd. has been active in the Vietnamese market for two years. It has opened a cake workshop in Ho Chi Minh City and is building a new cake production facility in Dong Nai Province’s Long Thanh District that will go into operation by the end of this year.

Hayato Nakajima, Director of Middis Inc., a Japanese milk distributor, said the company has been selling high-quality powdered milk to an agent in Hanoi for four years and is now looking for a new partner in Ho Chi Minh City. In his opinion, Vietnam is a potential market for milk products. Middis Inc. sells about six 20-foot containers of milk to the agent in Hanoi each year. The volume of its sales in the Vietnamese market has grown 1.5 times annually. Special kinds of Japanese beef, such as Wakyu and Bungo, and fresh fruit, such as apples and kousui, have also been launched in the Vietnamese market.

Some Vietnamese companies present at the meeting shared the opinion that Japanese food is more expensive than products of other Asian countries, such as South Korea and Thailand. However, Vietnamese consumers are willing to buy Japanese products for their high quality and specific tastes.

JETRO’s Chief Representative in Ho Chi Minh City, Takimoto Koji, considers Vietnam a promising market for Japanese food products. So far, more than 1,000 Japanese restaurants have been opened in Vietnam, with nearly 660 based in Ho Chi Minh City. About 50 percent of Japanese restaurants in Vietnam are run by Japanese owners.

In the first five months of this year, Vietnam imported US$28.4 million worth of Japanese seafood, up nearly 12 percent compared with the same period in 2016. The import value of finished food products also grew 29 percent, reaching over US$8 million.

Thanh Duong