|Customers choose fruits at the Big C Supermarket on Ha Noi's Tran Duy Hung Street. Quality concerns have consumers willing to pay higher prices for fruits at supermarkets. — VNS Photo Thai Ha
by To Nhu
HA NOI (VNS) — Higher prices do not discourage or disappoint Tran Thi Van Oanh when she buys fruits from supermarkets.
Oanh, who is with the Viet Nam Women's academy, knows that she can get the same fruit for much cheaper in the wet markets or street vendors, but she is willing to pay the price for knowing she is getting a good quality product.
"For example, a big pomelo is sold for VND 200,000 (US$9) in the super market, while I can get the fruit for just one-third that price in the wet market. But I prefer to buy it in the supermarket as the quality is much better," she said.
Oanh's attitude exemplifies growing demand for high quality Vietnamese agricultural produce and products among well-off consumers in Ha Noi.
Nguyen Thi Hau, deputy director of Nhat Nam Company, which owns the Fivimart supermarket chain, said: "Vietnamese agro products are much sought after by our consumers these days because they are of high quality and more reasonably priced compared to similar imported products."
This was echoed by Tran Thi Phuong Lan, deputy director of Ha Noi Department of Trade and Industry. She said that since early 2015, many supermarket chains in Ha Noi had switched to sell Vietnamese agricultural specialty products like Vinh oranges, Ninh Thuan's apples and Dong Thap oranges. And these were selling very well, he/she added.
Lan attributed the increased demand for high quality local produce to successful implementation of her department's "Regional speciality" programme.
Under the programme, many enterprises from 40 provinces have signed
memoranda with Ha Noi Department of Trade and Industry as well as supermarkets to supply them with their local/regional specialities.
For example, Fivimart will sell sticky rice from Son La or garlic from Ly Son Island, while Hapro Mart will sell Canh oranges or Dien grapefruits from Ha Noi, Cao Phong oranges from Hoa Binh province and some specialities from the northern mountainous provinces of Cao Bang, Bac Kan and Ha Giang.
According to Ho The Van, deputy director of Can Tho Center for Investment - Trade and Tourism Promotion, Nam Bo - Southern Viet Nam, is well known for many specialities including pomelos, star apples, particularly the purple variety, and mangoes. But due to poor transportation facilities, these fruits cannot go directly to the north.
"We have found ways to transport them to Ha Noi and other northern provinces, as the demand there is very big. Our centre has been looking for distributors in Ha Noi, but so far we've had no luck."
Ha Noi residents are eager to get good quality products from all localities in the country, said Nguyen Tien Vuong, deputy director general of Ha Noi Hapro Corporation. But many producers have not responded correspondingly by paying due attention to packaging and labelling, he added.
Tran Tam, CEO of IPCOM said while packaging and proper labelling were very important elements in capturing consumer interest, producers needed to pay more attention to building recognisable trademarks and brands. — VNS