HCM CITY (VNS) — A population of over 90 million and rapid development of its food processing, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries mean Viet Nam offers huge opportunities for packaging manufacturers all over the world, experts said.
"Packaging, like other industries in Viet Nam, is developing strongly and modernising," Tran Viet Dung, deputy director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Exhibition Service, which organised the International Processing, Filling and Packaging Exhibition and Conference (Propak 2014) in HCM City recently, said.
"Many recent foreign direct investment projects are in the fields of food processing, beverages, cosmetics, and medicines, offering much opportunity for the industry."
Quoting a figure from the Viet Nam Plastic Association, he said the domestic plastic packaging industry was growing at an average annual rate of over 25 per cent. HCM City alone had around 10,000 manufacturers
According to industry executives who took part in Propak 2014, Viet Nam is one of the top 10 packaged food markets in all of Asia.
At a conference organised during the exhibition, Vera Fritsche, market and exhibitions manager, packaging machinery, food processing machinery at the German Engineering Federation, said the Vietnamese packaging industry was poised to further develop and listed many reasons for it.
"The country has a fast growing food and beverage industry and is a big exporter of foodstuff," she said.
Demand for processed and packaged food would continue to rise because of the ongoing urbanisation, a young and growing population, increasing incomes, and modern retail structures, she said, adding that increasing demand for hygienically produced food of high quality was another reason.
Tunyarut Junkarn, head of the department of food packaging at Thailand's Kasetsart University agreed with her, saying "there is still room for the Vietnamese packaging industry to grow."
Seeing the potential, nearly 500 companies from 28 nations and territories have come to the exhibition looking for business opportunities.
Fritsche said the Vietnamese packaging industry depends on imported machines and that was the reason why she led a delegation of 25 German companies to the exhibition.
In the first 11 months of last year, Viet Nam spent 45.5 million euros (US$62 million) to import food packaging machines and plastic and rubber producing machines from Germany alone.
Italy has sent 12 companies and Taiwan, 18 companies.
A Japanese executive said his company sold many packaging machines to Vietnamese companies and he found the market had developed greatly since 2007.
An Indian company said last year it sold 220 machines to Vietnamese companies and hoped for more sales this year.
In 2013 sales of alcoholic drinks grew by 14.3 per cent and soft drinks sales by 15 per cent.
The retail and food processing industries have grown at an average of over 10 per cent annually in recent years. — VNS