|A store selling imported fruits in HCM City. Importers of fruits plan to buy less than usual for Tết in 2021 due to lower demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. — Photo smartfruits.vn|
HCM CITY — Companies that import fruits and foods expect lower demand during Tết (Lunar New Year) next February due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and plan to reduce import.
A company in Bình Thuận Province said it has decided to cut fruit imports between now and Tết by 50 per cent compared to the same period last year despite abundant global supply and steady prices.
“The demand for imported fruits always exists during Tết, but will definitely decrease this time. So not only our company but also many others will tweak their plans. This year we will focus on importing a few popular and easy to sell fruits such as apples, pears and grapes."
But Phạm Thiện Hoàng, director of Phạm Hòang Trang Company (which owns GreenSpace Store), expressed a different opinion, saying Tết is the season for consuming fresh fruits such as apples and cherries in the high-end segment.
But their prices have increased significantly this year because the cost of harvesting the fruits in major exporting countries of the fruits such as the US, Australia, and New Zealand have gone up by two to three times due to the impact of COVID-19, and there is a lack of international flights.
Fresh fruit imports are expected to reduce this Tết, while the supply of imported nuts such as pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pecans will surge, he said.
“These are healthy and nutritious foods. Their prices are not too high at about VNĐ300,000 - 400,000 per kilogramme and imported from many countries. In addition, natural dried fruits such as grapes, plums, and apricots are also imported to serve the market in replace sugar-coated fruits," he told Người lao động (Labourers) newspaper.
Nguyễn Thanh Hùng, owner of a company that imports feng shui gifts and organic and processed foods from Russia, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has made things stagnant so we do not dare import as much as in previous years.”
The transport cost has increased but his company accepted lower returns to keep prices unchanged, he said.
But market research company Ipsos said despite a turbulent year due to the pandemic people’s budgets for Tết are almost the same as last year.
They are somewhat higher in the high-income group, mostly the same in the middle-income group and down by 15 per cent in the low-income group.
Travel abroad this year would be minimal, and so nearly 50 per cent would stick to the tradition of going home to celebrate Tết, it said.
This would increase consumption of food and drinks (confectionery, dried fruits, nuts) but reduce that of tobacco, alcohol, confectionery, and instant foods, it said.
Traditional gift products would be bought as usual.
According to other market research companies, while consumers will still spend during Tết, demand will surely reduce from previous years. — VNS