According to the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City, the food, foodstuffs, and beverage processing industry have decreased by an estimated 2.2 percent since the beginning of the year. However, there is a difference in the increase or decrease in each product category. The manufacturing and processing industry of foodstuffs is estimated to increase by 3.4 percent, while it went down 3.1 percent in the same period last year. Beverage manufacturing is estimated to decrease 12 percent, while it advanced by 7.3 percent in the same period.
Explaining this fact, the representative of the Department of Industry and Trade of Ho Chi Minh City said that with the food and foodstuff processing industry, the export turnover of processed food products was only equal to 30-40 percent of that in the time before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in the domestic consumption market, enterprises have still maintained stable production due to specific characteristics of the supply of essential goods of the foodstuff processing industry. Food and foodstuff retail sales were estimated at VND103.88 trillion, up 11.9 percent over the same period, accounting for 11 percent of the total retail sales of goods.
In the opposite direction, the beverage manufacturing industry fell by 12 percent. The reason is that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic to now, the purchasing power has decreased sharply. Purchasing power has just recovered from mid-August to now because enterprises have actively built plans to restore production and advertise products. More importantly, thanks to the back-to-school month of September, the consumption of beverage products increased sharply, recovering by about 85 percent. As for the export market, although there was a decline compared to before the pandemic, beverage companies still maintain their market share in markets, namely Japan, Myanmar, and Thailand.
In another perspective, Ms. Ly Kim Chi, Chairwoman of the HCMC Food and Foodstuff Association, said that in the context that the pandemic developed complicatedly, the supply chain of goods was interrupted, and export orders were delayed or canceled, a decrease of 2.2 percent over the same period last year is also very encouraging. This is partly thanks to the enterprises' efforts to actively diversify the market to increase orders and reduce export risks. On the other hand, enterprises have made use of the advantages of supplying goods and expanding market share in the domestic market. Not only export orders but also import orders were interrupted. This has created gaps in the domestic market that previously was dominated by foreign goods, at the same time, creating opportunities for domestic enterprises to increase production, fill gaps in consumption, expand market share, and dominate the domestic market.
It is recorded at many supermarkets in the city that many Vietnamese product categories have become more diversified and plentiful. Ms. Hoang Ho Yen Nhi, living in Ly Thuong Kiet Street in District 5, shared that only for chili sauce, consumers also find it very difficult to choose because there are dozens of products of the same type produced by many companies. Or like rice, consumers have to choose from hundreds of choices about types and brands of hundreds of domestic enterprises.
The representative of Saigon Co.op said that generally, products of domestic enterprises have changed much compared to before. Domestic enterprises not only focused on quality, but the packaging and labels were also improved to create more trust for consumers. On the other hand, in recent years, enterprises have constantly innovated their technology, production lines, and especially increase research to create several new products, attracting the attention and favor of consumers. For instance, for the same cooking oil product, consumers can choose to buy canola oil, Gac oil, vegetable oil, sunflower seed oil, or rice oil. Many enterprises even make use of the plentiful source of domestic agricultural and aquatic materials to process unique and high value-added food products, such as dragon fruit dumpling, watermelon vermicelli, and dragon fruit baguette.
According to enterprises, within the framework of the National Brand Program, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has collaborated with relevant ministries, provinces, associations, and enterprises to implement the brand building program for the food industry of Vietnam. The program was launched in 2014, but up to now, it still encounters many limitations. After being supported, enterprises still lack certain resources to develop their brands and increase consumer awareness across the country. Besides, the psychology of preferring foreign goods is still deeply rooted in people's cognition. Therefore, along with building brands for Vietnamese products, it is essential to increase trade promotion activities, support enterprises to develop and advertise product brands. In the long run, Vietnamese brands will take root in the consumption habits of people, creating a sustainable resilience for Vietnamese goods in the domestic market.