VietNamNet Bridge – While Vietnamese products flood the supermarkets owned by Vietnamese or Chinese, they rarely can be seen at the US owned hypermarkets, or they are available there under the others’ names.
Vietnamese food getting more popular in the US
More than 1 million Vietnamese people settling down in the US are the biggest consumers of the imports from Vietnam, especially food and foodstuff. The supply is so profuse and diversified that people can buy any kinds of materials at the supermarkets to make Vietnamese dishes.
Fresh vegetables and fruits can also be found there, from the most popular vegetables to Vietnamese such as rau muong or rau den to durian, a kind of fruit that is only familiar to Vietnamese and Asian people. Especially, pho and bun, the kinds of traditional noodles, are available everywhere for the housewives to make pho – the noodle soup served with beef and chicken – the Vietnamese traditional food which has become famous all over the world.
The Chinese owner of a market said he has been importing more and more Vietnamese products, and the imports from Vietnam have been increasing more rapidly than the ones from China or other Asian countries because of the growing tendency of eating Vietnamese dishes in the US.
The statistics from customs agencies showed that since 2003, the US has always been the biggest market that consumes the goods sourced from Vietnam.
In 2012, Vietnam exported $20 billion worth of products, an increase of 16.19 percent in comparison with 2011, which made up 17 percent of the total export turnover. In the year, the US was biggest among the markets to which Vietnam exported more than it imported from.
In the first quarter of 2013, Vietnam’s exports to the US reached $4.74 in total turnover, up by 16.74 percent in comparison with the same period of the previous year. It is expected that Vietnam’s exports to the US may bring $22.5 billion in turnover in 2013.
Vietnamese exports still cannot enter big supermarkets
While Vietnamese exports have been flooding Chinese and Vietnamese owned supermarkets, they can be hardly found at big distribution networks such as Walmart, Kroger or Costco.
Vietnam has been well known as a big garments, footwear, wooden furniture and seafood exporter in the world. However, Vietnamese products cannot be found at the big supermarkets.
In many cases, analysts say the products, which are the key export items of Vietnam, have been available at some distribution chains, but they are “anonymous,” because the products bear the names of other manufacturers.
Vietnamese exporters have admitted that they still cannot find the ways to penetrate the US big supermarket networks. The noteworthy thing is that Vietnamese are not the businessmen who take initiative in exporting Vietnamese food products to the US.
It is the Chinese or Vietnamese supermarket owners, who realize the increasingly high demand for Vietnamese food, come to Vietnam to place order with Vietnamese manufacturers and then bring the products to the US.
Which ways to follow to penetrate big supermarkets?
Walmart, the biggest retail group, has also obtained the license to buy goods in Vietnam.
The US Kroger retail chain had a meeting with Vietnamese enterprises in mid May 2013.
Tim Kelbel, Vice President of the group, said Kroger plans to buy wooden furniture, clothes, food, seafood, rice, pepper, coffee, cashew nuts and canned fruits directly from Vietnam, provided that the products can meet HACCP, Global GAP and the requirements on social responsibility and the environment.