Vietnamese not hog wild about frozen pork imports

06:00 | 03/07/2020 Trade

(VEN) - Vietnam has promoted pork imports at prices far lower than those of domestic pork, but customers are not impressed.

vietnamese not hog wild about frozen pork imports

In response to the heavy impact of African swine fever on the country’s domestic pork production, Vietnam has reduced its most-favored-nation (MFN) rates for imported pork. Effective July 10, the MFN rate for frozen pork muscle cuts will drop from 15 percent to 10 percent, with the lower rate remaining in effect through the end of this year. The MFN rate for frozen pork variety meat will remain at eight percent and for chilled pork muscle cuts will decline from 25 percent to 22 percent.

Vietnam’s domestic swine inventory dropped by 13 percent, creating a surge in hog and pork prices. The decision on reducing import tariffs is designed to ensure price stability.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam imported 67,638 tonnes of pork in the first five months of the year, an increase of 298 percent compared to a year ago, mainly from Canada, Germany, Poland, Brazil, the US, Spain and Russia.

However, imported pork is almost unavailable on shelves of supermarkets and retail stores. In addition, imported pork is not attractive to consumers although its prices are cheaper than local produce by two-thirds.

Nguyen Ly from Hanoi’s Ha Dong District said the prices of pork imported from Russia are around VND90,000 per kg, mainly supplied for industrial kitchens.

A number of supermarkets in Hanoi and northern provinces have launched programs to promote consumption of imported pork. For example, Big C held the “Imported Port Week” for the first time, offering deep discounts of up to 34 percent for dishes made with imported pork. However, consumers are not used to the imported, frozen pork with most still preferring fresh meat. Nguyen Thi Ha from Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem District expressed her concern about the freshness of imported pork that may not be equal to that of domestic meat.

A representative from the VinMart supermarket system said only few of the chain’s stores in the southern provinces have sold pork imported from the US, Poland and Brazil.

Vu Vinh Phu, former chair of the Hanoi Supermarket Association, said imported pork is not attractive to Vietnamese businesses. Discounts may lead to losses, so few businesses dare to invest heavily in imported pork, increasing pressure on the domestic market.

Imported pork is now sold online at prices ranging from VND85,000 to VND140,000 per kg.

Do Nga