Thai-made products in US sell Vietnamese pho, other specialties

VietNamNet Bridge - Many Vietnam’s specialties are available in the world market, but most are Thai and Hong Kong made products.


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'Chaudoc' coconut milk in the US is not from Vietnam



Nguyen Hai, a Vietnamese student in the US, said he goes to Vietnamese markets to buy food when he craves traditional restaurant dishes.

“Vietnam’s specialties can be found easily in the US. However, most of the products are from Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong. There is nearly no product made in Vietnam,” he said.

A report found that in the US, more than 9,000 shops sell pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup famous all over the world, and many of the shops are not owned by Vietnamese and the soup does not have a truly Vietnamese formula and flavor.

Fresh instant pho products are available at large retail chains in the US, but they are made by a Thai enterprise. The high profit prompted the enterprise to set up a 2 million packs per day factory  in the US to provide to retail chains.

A report found that in the US, more than 9,000 shops sell pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup famous all over the world, and many of the shops are not owned by Vietnamese and the soup does not have a truly Vietnamese formula and flavor.

Meanwhile, canned ‘Chaudoc’ coconut milk, sold for $3.5 per can at supermarkets is from Thailand and Hong Kong, though they show the geographical indication of ‘Chau Doc’, a coconut area of An Giang province in Vietnam. 

Reports showed that the demand for fresh coconut milk from South Korea, Canada, Australia and the US has increased greatly. Statista said the coconut milk sales in the US were $778 million in 2015, while the figure is expected to rise to $2 billion in the next years.

However, only a few Vietnamese enterprises have coconut milk exports to the US, while the huge market is dominant by enterprises from Thailand and the Philippines.

According to the Vietnam Business Association of High-Quality Products, packed fresh noodles in theThai product are easy to use, which is a big advantage. The product can be preserved for 1.5 years, and takes only 1-2 minutes to prepare with microwave.

Le Thi Thanh Lam, deputy general director of CP Saigon Food, said Vietnamese enterprises also consider exporting Vietnamese traditional specialties such as pho, coconut milk and fish sauce. However, they have problems in capital and technology and find it difficult to satisfy the strict requirements set by choosy markets.

While Vietnamese enterprises are still seeking a way to implement their plans, Thais have successfully exported Vietnamese specialties to large markets.

Tetsuichiro Tomihari from the National Supermarket Association of Japan said pho is a favorite in Japan, but fresh noodle products there are all imports from Thailand and China.

He believes that there are many  specialties Vietnam can export. Vietnamese enterprises need to use technologies to upgrade product quality.


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Thanh Lich

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