|Mooncake producers are offering many traditional and new varieties this year for the Middle-Autumn Festival. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM CITY — The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for mooncakes, a baked pastry that symbolises family reunions and which is traditionally consumed as part of the celebrations.
Despite the difficult economic situation this year caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, mooncake sales have started early with confectionery companies launching many new flavours and diverse designs and packaging in addition to traditional favourites.
Companies have also tried to stimulate demand and increase convenience for customers.
Big names like ABC Bakery, Mondelez Kinh Đô, Bibica, Thành Long, Đại Phát, and Givral have already started selling though the festival is only on October 1 this year.
Đại Phát offers 38 varieties this year, with a focus on Tainwanese-flavour mooncakes with fillings like lotus seeds, coconut milk, durian, black sesame, birds’ nest, abalone, seafood, chocolate, and fruits.
ABC Bakery is offering mooncakes made from dragon fruit and coffee and ingredients imported from the US.
Kao Siêu Lực, the company’s general director, said mooncakes are traditionally made from 20 ingredients like sugar, flour, glutinous flour, melon seeds, cashew nuts, green beans, char siu, sausages, and salted eggs, but his company has created a new line using famous local agricultural products and US ones like almonds, raisins, walnuts, oats, and cheese to offer diverse choices, he said.
A Bibica Corporation spokesperson said though the pandemic is still unabated, his company would launch 600 tonnes of mooncakes, the same as last year.
There would be 60 luxury, nutritional and traditional items besides salted egg lava, mochi cake, and five-coloured green bean baked mooncake/ five-coloured green bean sticky rice mooncakes for the first time.
Although costs have increased by 5 per cent, the company has kept prices unchanged at VNĐ39,000-165,000 (US$1.67-$7) per cake in the popular line and VNĐ250,000-2.5 million ($10.7-$107.2) a box in the high-end line.
Many amateurs too are offering handmade moon cakes with unique designs and materials on Facebook and other social media.
Also available are cakes imported from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
Hong Kong MX Mooncakes will sell eight varieties at prices ranging from VNĐ820,000 ($35.1) to VNĐ1.55 million ($66.4) for a box of four to eight.
This year it will introduce the custard twins mooncake box with its two most famous flavours, lava custard and creamy custard. The box will carry the image of rabbits, a symbol of luck, and festive colours to match the season.
It will also launch other treats such as the white lotus seed paste mooncake with egg yolk and the low-sugar white lotus seed paste mooncake with egg yolk.
A spokesperson for the brand said, “Our aim is to bring high-end mooncakes imported directly from Hong Kong that will satisfy the needs of cosmopolitan buyers in the Việt Nam market.”
When asked about their forecast for demand this year, many manufacturers said the same thing: “unpredictable."
To sustain demand, companies are offering discounts, free shipping and giving away free greeting cards.
Besides setting up booths to sell their mooncakes, producers have also stepped up sales online through their own websites and e-commerce platforms such as Tiki, Shopee and Lazada.
They said prices this year are mostly steady though manufacturers using a lot of imported ingredients have increases them by 3 per cent. — VNS