Instant food market: door opens widely but barriers exist
Vietnamese companies are eyeing the ready-made instant food market, as they won’t have to compete directly with foreign manufacturers. However, the market is it as easy one as most consumers are not used to the products.
Realizing that convenience stores are mushrooming, the Cau Tre Export Goods Processing JSC has developed a series of ready-made instant food products following its success with semi-processed products in order to expand ibusiness and market share.
Cau Tre plans to market some 30 daily dishes eaten in the northern, central and southern region.
All the products can be used after reheating them in the microwave for 4-8 minutes and priced at between VND20,000-40,000, affordable price levels for the majority of Vietnamese.
Deputy general director of Saigon Food Le Thi Thanh Lam said that after the company received good feedback from customers for its instant products and broths of different kinds, it decided to continue developing the market.
“The processing and preservation play the decisive role in success of developing this kind of product,” Lam said.
While Saigon Food has the advantage of technology and materials for making products for export to Japan, Cau Tre’s advantage is in recipes which keep the freshness of meat and vegetables.
Truong Chi Thien, general director of Vinh Thanh Dat JSC, said the company has marketed six ready-made egg products after realizing that these products had been selling very well in other regional countries.
In South Korea and Japan, for example, 4-5 out of every 10 eggs sold are ready made and each egg is priced at VND10,000. Meanwhile, Vinh Thanh can make products at lower prices, and therefore, it is considering exporting products to the markets.
Thien cited reasons for the company to make processed eggs for export.
“Instant eggs are safe for health, while shipment is easy. Processing eggs can create added value and ensure egg sales for farmers,” he said.
“The prices of instant eggs are stable, and don’t fluctuate like fresh eggs. Besides, it is easier to export instant eggs. We will only have to have products examined for food safety, and won’t have to undergo a quarantine,” he explained.
However, though optimistic about niche market development, the companies admitted that the sales of the products remained modest.
Cau Tre estimated that it would earn VND40-50 billion a year from the products. The sales of Saigon Food’s nutritious gruel have increased by 20 percent after several months. However, the company said it is just in the very early stages of development.