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Organic Food Exhibition|Analysis of Vietnam Organic Market

2024.06.07

Organic Food Exhibition points out that, over the last few years, Vietnam has seen strong development in its health and wellness sectors in general, and for its organic products sector in particular. According to Euromonitor, the Vietnam market for health and wellness products, valued at $5 billion in 2019, expanded at an average rate of over 9 percent annually over the past 5 years. Organic food and beverages (F&B) account for a relatively small portion of the health and wellness market in Vietnam with retail sales at $130 million in 2019 (Source: Business Associations of High-Quality Vietnam Products). While modest, Vietnam is a potential growth market for organic F&B products due to more consumers with higher disposable incomes, growing preferences for high-quality and high-value products, and higher demand that outpaces local supply. Although organic F&B has positioned in the past as a niche market in Vietnam due to its premium price point, as the country’s economy grows and standards of living improve, demand for safe and quality products has also risen. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic slowdown that occurred in 2020, Vietnam still doubled its imports of U.S. organic F&B products compared to the same period last year.

 

Learned from the Organic Food Exhibition, according to Vietnam’s General Statistics Office, the country has a population of over 97 million, half of which are under the age of 35 years. “Generations Y” (ages 24 to 39) and “Z” (ages 15 to 23) are estimated at around 40 million people and include well-educated consumers who are open to new experiences and international trends. According to the World Bank, Vietnam has over 12 million people classified as “middle and affluent,” and this demographic is expected to more than double to 25 million by 2026, one of the highest growth rates in Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s super-rich, defined as those with a net worth of at least $30 million, are also rapidly increasing and Vietnam now ranks second among the world’s fastest-growing wealth markets, according to the 2021 Wealth Report by Knight Frank. Vietnam’s middle and affluent classes, the main drivers of the country’s economic growth, are contributing to the rapid expansion of the organic F&B market as these consumers shift from basic necessities to higher quality and value products as their incomes increase.

 

Health is also an important issue in Vietnam, often outranking other general concerns, such as income and job security, according to a 2020 Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey. This survey also noted many consumers indicating their willingness to spend extra income on products that can guarantee health benefits. The “Vietnam Insight Ebook 2021” (Kantar World Panel) reported that 79 percent of Vietnamese consumers surveyed were willing to pay higher prices for healthier foods. A Vietnam Report Group survey on the purchasing behavior of consumers in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Hanoi in 2019 showed that 51.5 percent of the focus group would choose products of organic origin, while 45.6 percent would base their purchases on price.

 

Food safety continues to play an important factor in purchasing habits as Vietnamese consumers often exhibit concerns on certain products such as local produce. Domestic food safety scandals over the past few years have also raised concerns. Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand for safe products as consumers seek ways to address health concerns. As a result, organic F&B products are often promoted for their image as “natural,” “no chemicals,” “safe,” “high quality,” and “good for health.” Online searches for “organic food” ("thực phẩm hữu cơ" in Vietnamese) have grown 30 percent year-on-year in 2020, according to the “Vietnam: Year in Search 2020” report from Google.

 

As half of Vietnam’s population are young and well informed, many consumers quickly adopt F&B trends that are popular globally. Google searches for popular diets soared sharply in 2020 with key words such as “eat keto” and “keto menu” increasing 900 and 650 percent respectively. The popularity of “superfoods” such as apples, apple cider, blueberries, chia seeds, kale, celery, Greek yogurt, and kombucha are examples of international trends that influence local consumption, both at home and in restaurants.

 

According to Organic Food Exhibition, although many middle-class consumers are aware of the quality and health benefits of organic F&B products, price remains a challenge to their substitution of everyday items with organic equivalents. As a result, consumers prioritize organic F&B products on purposes related to health concerns, especially for families and children. Baby infant milk powder, dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables rank high among purchased organic F&B products.

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