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Cashew industry urged domestic market focus

Update: December, 02/2014 - 09:04
A Viet Ha Cashew Import - Export JSC (Vietcashew) worker clasifies cashew nuts for export. Viet Nam's cashew exports have surged in recent years, but consumption at home remains very modest compared to levels in India, the US, or Australia. — VNA/VNS Photo Chi Tuong
HCM CITY  (VNS) — The cashew industry needs to boost consumption in the lucrative domestic market, a forum on the nut's nutritional value heard in HCM City yesterday.

Viet Nam's cashew exports have surged in recent years, but consumption at home remains very modest compared to levels in India, the US, or Australia, Nguyen Duc Thanh, chairman of the Viet Nam Cashew Association, said.

Dinh Thi My Loan, chairwoman of the Viet Nam Retailers Association, blamed the low sales at home to high prices, poor marketing, and lack of diverse products.

Besides, processors are not interested in the local market, she said, adding that cashew products are mainly sold during the Lunar New Year, making it hard to create a consumption habit among consumers.

Nguyen Tan Thanh, deputy director of cashew processing firm Thao Nguyen Co, said many people do not eat the nut in Viet Nam despite its high nutritional value because of high prices.

As a result, local consumption accounts for just around 5 per cent of output while in India 30-40 per cent is sold domestically, he said.

To promote consumption in the domestic market, Loan said the industry needs to strengthen advertising and marketing and develop more cashew-based products.

Besides trying to take their products to supermarkets and traditional retail channels like markets and shops, businesses should also make more effort to sell online, she said.

Educating people about the nutritional benefits of cashew is also key, she said.

Do Thi Ngoc Diep, director of the HCM City Nutrition Centre, said cashew nuts are high in calories, with 100gam providing 550-600 kcal compared to 300-350 kcal for cereals and 150-200kcal for meat.

They are also an abundant source of essential minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium, she said.

About 80 per cent of the fatty acids contained in the nuts are monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic, which are good for people with heart diseases or diabetes who also have high triglyceride levels, she said.

It is a low blood sugar food, largely because it contains a high amount of fibre, she said.

By replacing animal-based foods, cashew can help prevent non-contagious diseases and malnutrition, she added.— VNS

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