The rapid growth of Vietnam’s economy has led to an increase in people’s purchasing power and a rise in demand for personal healthcare. The large population of Vietnam (96 million) means that the industry for health food is still in its infancy, and there are many business opportunities available in the local market. According to the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Vietnamese health food market is expected to grow at 20% per year. If you are an international manufacturer looking to enter the Vietnamese market, which is dominated by American brands and has great growth potential, this article is for you.
The unblocking led to a rebound after the economy stagnated for a while
Health food products are extremely popular in Vietnam, with an average of over 3,000 products per month consumed, and health products related discussions are very popular. In the first half 2021, there was a downward trend in volume. However, it changed to a U-shaped turn. The second case of Southeast Asia’s imported disease in Vietnam was quickly detected by the local government, leading to epidemic prevention and quarantine measures This caused a dramatic drop in economic activity between February and April. The new cases were not reported until mid-April. The popularity of healthy food increased after the economic blockade was lifted.
Consumers value “bone health care” and “hydrolyzed collagen” the most
We can see that most Vietnamese value “bone health care” as well as “dietary supplements” when we look at the top-selling products and items of health food in Vietnam. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, Vietnam’s daily calcium intake is below 400mg per person. This is detrimental to bone health. This is due to the Vietnamese diet which is high in soy products but low in dairy products. Vietnam is the fastest-aging nation in the world due to its low fertility rate and long life expectancy.
Young Vietnamese people are influenced by Confucian culture and often purchase health products to honor the elderly. “Bone health care” has become their first choice. People in Vietnam are also more interested in “dietary supplements” because of the new crown epidemic. People pay more attention and take better care of themselves since the COVID-19 epidemic.
We can see that the top 10 most popular health foods list out “hydrolyzed collagen” and “multivitamins”. Hydrolyzed collagen has a similar composition to ordinary collagen. It is converted by hydrolysis into small molecular amino acid. This makes it easier for the body to absorb compared to the former. Healthline, a medical website, stated that hydrolyzed collagen has three main functions. These include the treatment of osteoporosis and relief of joint pain. They also help with wrinkle elimination. This is a great benefit for elderly women in Vietnam. Vietnamese hospitals lack staff and are also outdated, just like the Indonesian system. To prevent new coronary pneumonia, the Vietnamese consume extensive vitamins.
Popular brands in Vietnam are Japanese and American brands.
Out of the Top 10 most popular health food brands in Vietnam 2022, six brands are from the United States. Other brands are from Japan, Australia and Germany. The most varied products were introduced by American companies to the Vietnamese market in the 1990s. What makes the Vietnamese market different from India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand is that Taiwanese brands are not very popular.
American health care brands are known for these top products. The Made focuses on Omega-3-rich fish oil (DHA/EPA), while True Nature, a Costco subsidiary, launched a Chinese herbal medicine product called Ginkgo biloba. This is also known in Vietnam as ginkgo (bạch quả). Quaker, which is well-known to Taiwanese customers, sells oat dietary fibre. NeoCell and Youtheory, small manufacturers, are focusing on collagen products.
There are many products to choose from when it comes to Japanese health care brands. DHC and Shiseido cross-domain, selling beauty products as well as health products. Orihiro discovered the “Kazakh–Japanese complex” characteristic of some groups of Vietnamese consumers, and introduced Japanese-style weight reduction tea to them.
The above analysis shows that there are three main routes for foreign companies to enter Vietnam.
1. Large manufacturers have the option to focus on one star product that drives sales for other products.
2. Smaller manufacturers have the option of targeting a niche market and securing a hot product.
3. Manufacturers can follow the Vietnamese “Hatai boom” and introduce healthy foods with Oriental characteristics (such as Antrodia cinnamomea, clam essence, and red yeast capsules) into Vietnam.
Anti-aging and the relief of chronic diseases are key motivations for such an aging society.
The most passionate discussions among consumers are about “ingredients and efficacy” and “purchase motivation”. People in Vietnam are motivated to purchase healthy food because they believe it will help with their chronic illnesses and anti-aging. The demand for combatting aging has increased dramatically in Vietnam which is rapidly becoming an aging society.
They want to improve their health and prevent future diseases by being more responsible about their diet. Anti-aging, detoxification, and anti-oxidation products can delay the aging process. Due to low efficiency in public hospitals and high costs of private clinics, Vietnamese are more inclined to seek out personal healthcare to treat chronic conditions. Products that lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, clear the intestines and restore sleep can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of diabetes, high blood pressure and constipation.
Vietnamese consumers are focused on two main effects: improving skin health and physical fitness. Vietnam is located in a tropical area with a hot environment. Women who spend a lot of time in the sun can have dry and wrinkle skin. Consumers need products that “moisturize, rejuvenate and promote skin growth.” Different age groups have different requirements when it comes to improving their physical fitness. Vietnamese eat a lot of pork and beef, which are high-cholesterol and high fat meats. Middle-aged Vietnamese want to reduce cholesterol and lose weight by eating healthy food. Senior citizens want pain relief, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Diversified demand in Vietnam’s healthcare industry
The actual market situation in Vietnam was examined from many angles and it was found that the Vietnamese demand for health products exceeds that of India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Vietnam’s health food market is still young and has not met all the needs of its customers. Vietnam has needs that are similar to Singapore’s anti-aging for the aged and Indonesia’s preventive health care needs. However, there are also needs for beauty products like in Malaysia and function-oriented products like in Thailand. To provide products that are appropriate for different age groups and increase the market share of health products, foreign producers can break down the market by genders and ages (old, middle-aged, and young).
We have experience in the health supplements market in Vietnam. We are happy to help you find a local distributor and start selling your health products! If you have any questions after reading this article, please don’t hesitate to contact us!