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Export profits expected for ‘functional foods'

Update: October, 01/2013 - 09:37
Customers visit a showcase of a functional food company on Sunday. The sector in Viet Nam has the potential to make substantial export earnings by 2030. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

HA NOI (VNS)  — Viet Nam's vitamin and minerals-enhanced food sector plans to make large export earnings by 2030 while meeting 75 per cent of the domestic market.

The target was announced by Nguyen Xuan Hoang, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Association of Functional Foods (VAFF) at a conference on the so-called "functional foods".

Hoang said the country imported 40 per cent of its needs although it had potential for production. However, an investigation by the Ministry of Health showed that 60 per cent of 60 imported samples were substandard.

The Association of Functional Foods' chairman, Tran Dang, said Viet Nam had started to develop key medicine cultivation areas, but they were still on a small scale.

The areas were under the control of the Ha Noi Institute for Medicine Research, the centre for medicinal plants research, HCM City Medicine Centre and the centre for science and technology transfer and development.

Dang said the functional foods market had developed rapidly. The country had 1,500 production and trading firms last year while in 2000 there were only 13.

In 2000, the market had 63 functional food items while the number was more than 5,500 last year.

He added that the sector should have suitable development strategies to reduce imports and become a strong exporter.

Dang said the industry had shortcomings. This included the fact that half of all advertisements were violations of existing laws - and most sold in Viet Nam had not been carefully tested.

The market has been linked with multi-level marketing by distributors who were only interested in profits and who over stated the characteristics of their products.

Do Ngoc Thach, vice general secretary of the association, said the sector should have a legal framework to apply good manufacturing practice (GMP), good agriculture practice (GAP) and good hygiene practice. — VNS

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