Phan Thanh Huong, a teacher of English, who reporters met at a Metro supermarket in district 2 in HCMC, said she came there to buy fruit juice.
“Previously, I bought apple, grape, orange and kiwi juice made by Berri (Australia). But now I like canned products from Thailand,” she said.
“The products contain pieces of fruit pulps and they taste naturally sweet which my family members like so much,” she said.
A liter of Berri fruit juice is priced at VND43,000, while six cans of Thai Chabaa fruit juice are priced at VND60,000, about VND10,000 for a 230 ml can of mango juice. The prices, according to Huong, are ‘acceptable’ though the imports are always more expensive than domestic products of the same kinds.
Huong commented that selling prices are not the factor which determines buyers’ decisions. A liter of fruit juice made by a domestic company is sold at VND33,000-38,000. Meanwhile, import products, which are much more delicious, are only 15-20 percent more expensive.
An analyst commented that some Vietnamese manufacturers have tried to make fruit juice in cartons and cans as they understand the high demand of the market. However, domestically made products do not fit Vietnamese taste.
“Our market surveys found that Vietnamese don’t like Vietnamese products because they are too sweets and unnatural ”
A representative of Bidrico, a Vietnamese manufacturer, said the company has five fruit juice products, but admitted these are still not strong products.
Robert Tran, a consultant, commented that Vietnamese enterprises do not make products that fit Vietnamese taste.
He noted that people would turn their back to products which do not contain fruit pulp, because they think they have artificial flavor.
He also said that Vietnam is also rich in tropical fruits like Thailand, but still cannot make products favored by customers like Thailand because of the bad processing industry.
Both Doan Dinh Hoang, a branding expert, and Le Phung Hao, chair of the Vietnam Marketing Association, when asked what Vietnamese enterprises should do to compete with foreign manufacturers, said that enterprises should conquer niche markets.
“It would be better to make products from materials specifically available in Vietnam, or introduce products targeting different groups of customers such as middle-class customers or students,” Hao said.