Export focus by country’s growers provides opening for imported fruit to meet demands of domestic consumers

The Vietnamese fruit industry has sharpened its focus on export opportunities as opposed to meeting the need of the domestic market, providing an opening for imported fruit.

According to a report from Vietnam News, tropical fruits such as durian, rambutan, mango, and pineapple from Thailand and China are dominating the market.

A fruit stall owner from Ho Chi Minh City was quoted by Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper as saying new season mangoes from China are arriving earlier than normal and in bigger sizes than domestic varieties. The owner said the domestic offering is struggling to compete even though it is in-season and cheaper.

According to deputy director of the Thu Duc Trading and Import Export JSC Nguyen Binh Phuong, imported fruits are outperforming Vietnamese products in terms of quality, appearance and packaging.

“There have only been minor improvements to domestic products, most of which are to meet export standards,” Nguyen said.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general-secretary of the Vietnam Fruit Association, said most of Vietnam’s main fruits are grown to meet Chinese demands, and so it is challenging to resell them in the domestic market if they are not exported.

One retailer also noted the organisational advantage imported fruits have compared local sourcing.

“Fruits from other countries are shipped in container units, making it easier for us to have strategic selling plans compared to local products,” the retailer said.

Vo Thanh Loc, marketing director of Farmers Market, said consumer prioritise quality and prices, for instance preferring mini pineapples and durian from Thailand for their unique flavours and reasonable prices.

Vo said Vietnamese durians are more expensive due to their large size, which makes it harder for customers to buy compared with those from Thailand that are smaller and more reasonably priced.