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Korean and Japanese agricultural products and food enter Vietnam

09:30 | 19/01/2022

VCN - Vietnam is an important consumption market for enterprises supplying agricultural products and food from Japan and Korea.

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Korean and Japanese agricultural products and food enter Vietnam
K.food staff "go to the street" to invite customers to try their products. Photo: N.A

Promote marketing

After a period of market access, many agricultural products and foods from Korea and Japan are expanding consumption and conquering Vietnamese consumers. Specifically, after a period of interruption due to the pandemic, recently, Uiseong province in South Korea held a meeting to introduce Korean processed agricultural products to consumers in HCM City.

Since 2019, many product introduction activities have also been organized by this unit and have achieved certain success. The representative of Uiseong province said that this activity was part of a support project for Korean agricultural exporters to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and develop export channels in the Vietnamese market.

Enterprises assessed that the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that Vietnam has joined have reduced import taxes from partners, helping foreign agricultural products and food easily access the Vietnamese market.

In the future, enterprises of Uiseong province wish to promote the export of quality products such as black garlic, red ginseng, ginseng, and some types of fermented fruit drinks with low alcohol content to the Vietnamese market.

According to a representative of K.food, a brand used to promoting food in Uiseong province, previously, marketing and product introduction activities were mainly aimed at corporate customers and distributors, but now they will focus on retail customers.

Accordingly, at the store introducing products of Uiseong province under the brand name K.food, in the past few days, customers could try many high-end products such as Korean ginseng essence and deer antlers.

Similarly, the Japan external trade organization (Jetro) in HCM City was organizing a long-term exhibition of Japanese food products called "Tasty in all of Japan" to introduce to Vietnamese customers and businesses. The exhibition brought together a variety of foods from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu and Okinawa in the south. Of which, about 70% of products are completely new in the Vietnamese market.

According to the product introduction units, agricultural products and food are all processed with modern technology to retain their natural and healthy flavors. The shelf life of these products is quite long, from six months or more, which is very convenient for distribution and consumption.

Important market for foreign agricultural products

In a Jetro survey on business development abroad, more than 40% of Japanese enterprises have chosen Vietnam. Vietnam surpassed many countries, becoming the second most popular destination of Japanese enterprises, after China. The Jetro office in HCM City regularly receives questions and advises Japanese businesses on bringing their goods into Vietnam for consumption.

In the past few days, thousands of Vietnamese agricultural products have been stuck at northern border gates as China continues to apply strong measures to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation that agricultural products and fruits after being harvested are transported directly to the border gate is an issue that has been mentioned for many years, but there has been no significant change.

Exporting to difficult markets also faces challenges in terms of technical standards. This makes the export volume, although increasing, still account for a small proportion of the total harvest.

Meanwhile, in the domestic market, many high-quality foods from other countries have gained a certain foothold and are intensifying marketing activities to increase consumption. This poses a problem about the processing industry and quality standards.

Hirai Shinji, Jetro representative in HCM City, said that from being a destination of production activities, Vietnam has become an important consumption market for Japanese enterprises.

Specifically, in 2019, Vietnam ranked sixth in the top 10 import markets for Japanese agricultural, forestry, and fishery products. But in 2021, it has risen to fifth position and is the market with the highest growth in import turnover of this group of products, reaching more than 17%.

According to the representative of Uiseong province, agricultural products of the province in particular and of Korea in general exported to Vietnam are very healthy and easy to use, suitable to the needs and tastes of Vietnamese consumers, including young people. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Koreans living and working in Vietnam are also a bridge to introduce local specialties to Vietnamese friends, helping to expand the market for these products.

Hairim Yoo, Director of Seoho Company, the representative unit of Uiseong's product distribution project in Vietnam, in recent years also said that compared to other markets Uiseong was exporting to, the Vietnamese market had low purchasing power. However, this company is still confident that the Vietnamese market will continue to grow in the future and the company is focusing more on brand promotion.

Besides, the purchasing power of the Vietnamese people is increasing. Korean strawberry and grape peony are two of the best examples. In particular, peony grapes cost up to millions of VND per bunch but still sell well.

According to Hirai Shinji, Chief Representative of Jetro in HCM City, many Japanese items such as ice cream, seasonings for rice, natto beans, apple cider vinegar, seaweed, mushrooms, and packaged dried foods are popular with consumers in cities in Vietnam with high sales in recent years.

"Although not essential items, they are still consumed during the pandemic, showing that Vietnamese consumers are increasingly preferring Japanese products," said Hirai Shinji.

Despite having a higher price compared to other similar products in the Vietnamese market, goods from Japan and Korea have their own attraction, especially food items. Additionally, many Japanese and Korean businesses and retail groups such as Lotte, Aeon, and Daiso have increased the opening of supermarkets and stores in Vietnam, facilitating the distribution and consumption of their products.