A moon cake kiosk in Hưng Yên Province.VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên
HÀ NỘI — A crowded moon cake market has caused a drop in sales for many stalls ahead of Mid-Autumn Festival.
The big day is Thursday, but the moon cake market is still quiet. Popular moon cake brands like Kinh Đô, Như Lan, Đồng Khánh, Hà Nội Confectionery and Thu Hương Bakery are traded on stalls in the most crowded areas in Hà Nội and HCM City. Despite an increase in discounts and promotions, fewer people are shopping at moon cake stalls than last year.
Nguyễn Thị Hương, the owner of a moon cake stall on Phạm Văn Đồng Street, Thủ Đức District, HCM City has struggled this year.
“I have to use a 'buy 1 get 1' board to attract customers but some just stop to see the price list. Some still buy the products but they are much fewer than ever before," she said.
Lê Minh Tâm, who runs a moon cake stall on An Dương Vương Street, District 5 told Tin Tức newspaper: “At this time of the year, the number of moon cake consumers starts to increase significantly but this year the sales are very low.”
After selling its confectionery segment to Mondelez, Kido (KDC) announced its entry into the moon cake market in 2020 under the brand Kingdom. According to Trần Lê Nguyên, general director of Kido, though the competition in the moon cake market has increased, there hasn't been a major change in moon cake production.
As moon cakes sell well at this time of year, hotels, restaurant and coffee chains have entered the market, while it's also a chance for housewives and office workers to earn some extra money with homemade products.
Tea and coffee chains such as Phuc Long Coffee & Tea, MyLife Coffee and The Coffee House have all joined the market.
While the price of a box of four moon cakes in most popular confectionery firms ranges from VNĐ250,000 (US$11) and VNĐ500,000, similar products in the chains go for VNĐ300,00 to VNĐ800,000.
While the chains can't compete on price, they do have a baked-in customer base and offer unique moon cakes with a variety of specialities such as ginger jam, lemon, lime leaves, malt, dragon fruit and cheese.
Homemade moon cake producers, meanwhile, make smaller cakes and sell them at lower prices at VNĐ150,000 to VNĐ200,000 for each box.
Nguyễn Thanh Quyên, a sales employee for an electronic firm in Hà Nôi, makes moon cakes to sell in the season.
“I use less sugar and make smaller cakes as I know many people just want a cake as a symbol of the festival. They don’t want to spend and to eat a big cake," she told Việt Nam News.
Another reason for fewer customers at the stalls is because they have offered free delivery for safer shopping amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nguyễn Phương Mai, a Hanoian who ordered a box of Kinh Đô moon cakes on Shopee, told Việt Nam News: "I have both free shipping and a 25 per cent promotion from the buyer while I still enjoy a brand I prefer. "
Mai said she also saves time to bring the cake to her mother-in-law's home, adding: "Without COVID-19, I will do the same thing next year as it is super easy."
Together with e-commerce sites like Shopee, Lazada, VinID and SpeedL, supermarkets and moon cake brands also offer free shipping and festivals gifts to attract online customers.
Lý Kim Chi, president of the HCM City Food and Food Association, said the entry of restaurants, hotels, bakeries and cafes in the moon cake market brings excellent products to consumers and creates a motivation for all to increase their quality and brands to gain customers.
“Though stalls look quiet, customers still spend on good products and reputable brands. Therefore, businesses that are constantly innovating and launching good products will retain customers and develop sustainably," Chi said. — VNS