Vietnamese businesses bring ginseng closer to consumers

May 26, 2024 - 16:16
The market for food products made from ginseng is growing as the ability of Vietnamese consumers to pay for health-supporting products is increasing.
Products made from Ngọc Linh Ginseng from HCM City businesses are displayed at an exhibition in early 2024. Photo

HCM CITY – The market for food products made from ginseng is growing as the ability of Vietnamese consumers to pay for health-supporting products is increasing.

Đặng Trần Cẩm Vân, an owner of a restaurant specialising in serving dishes containing ginseng in HCM City, said that Vietnamese people today not only want to eat delicious food but also eat to serve their health.

Therefore, her restaurant has developed a series of products combining the use of ginseng such as phở, coconut candy, coffee and drinks with the expectation of sales increasing by 10-15 per cent per year.

Dr. Hà Thị Loan, deputy director of HCM City Biotechnology Centre, said cooking ginseng into dishes does not cause them to lose nutrients, as diners can completely absorb the nutrients in the ginseng.

"Việt Nam's Ngọc Linh Ginseng is classified as one of the four leading rare ginseng species in the world with high saponin content. Ngọc Linh Ginseng has been proven to increase vitality, prevent cancer, stress and depression. Therefore, it is necessary to invest in technology to increase output, lower costs as well as process more products suitable for the majority of consumers."

Localities with suitable natural conditions for cultivating and developing ginseng are Quảng Nam, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Lâm Đồng, Thừa Thiên - Huế, Nghệ An, Lào Cai, Lai Châu and Điện Biên.

Việt Nam will focus on developing large-scale Vietnamese ginseng raw material areas in Quảng Nam, Kon Tum and Lai Châu provinces.

Nguyễn Tấn Liêm, chairman of Kom Tum Province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the province has an area of about 2,400 hectares of Ngọc Linh Ginseng growing.

The province is focusing on implementing solutions to protect brands and manage product quality, as well as preventing intellectual property infringement and trading of fake Ngọc Linh Ginseng.

"We are connecting with scientists and research centres to process many high-value products from Ngọc Linh Ginseng to improve economic efficiency for farmers, co-operatives and businesses."

Lương Trọng Khoa, Founder of Vinapanax Việt Nam Ginseng Joint Stock Company (Vinapanax), said that the current processing and usage of Ngọc Linh Ginseng mainly follows the traditional method of slicing, using directly or mixing in drinks. Not many businesses have applied high technology to the processing of Ngọc Linh ginseng.

Vinapanax has cooperated with the Institute of Medicinal Technopreneurship and Advanced Training (IMTAT) to develop products from Ngọc Linh Ginseng.

The company uses ultrasonic technology to extract all the precious essence of ginseng, with an average recovery rate of 1kg of essence from 10kg of fresh Ngọc Linh Ginseng raw materials grown for six years or more.

The resulting extract will be brought into the factory to be mixed with other ingredients such as cordyceps, lotus seeds, and bird's nest to produce many different products, Khoa said.

To promote ginseng and ginseng products, from May 24 to 26, the City will organise the first International Ginseng and Fragrance and Medicinal Herbs Festival.

The event will have many delicious dishes made from ginseng and medicinal herbs will be introduced. Among them, the most unique dish is bánh xèo mixed with ginseng.

Permanent deputy director of the city Department of Foreign Affairs Lê Trường Duy said Việt Nam is still weak in positioning its ginseng in the international market. This festival aims to provide opportunities for domestic businesses for international co-operation and learning about ginseng farming, processing and exporting. – VNS