The ready-made spice market has been growing more rapidly than one could imagine.
[Ready-made spices are mixtures of different spices and dried herbs, sold in packets. Each type of ready-made spice is usually targeted at a particular recipe, or set of recipes.]
A market surprisingly large
Nguyen Thanh Nguyet, an office worker in HCM City, spent half an hour selecting species at Maximark. She finally selected a pack of sauce for making roast meat and a pack of spices for Thai-styled pot-au-feu.
“My children like roast meat very much. I have tried several times with the recipes I found on Internet, but the food was not as delicious as expected. I was advised to soak the meat in ready-made sauce to make it tastier,” she explained.
Nguyet, like the other older housewives, has always tried to make dishes with traditional recipes. However, she has recently realized that ready-made spices could also be a perfect choice for her cooking.
Nguyet, along with younger Vietnamese women, have become more accustomed to ready-made spices, which allow them to prepare meals more quickly. These are the customers that spice producers are targeting.
Vietnam has become a fertile land for hundreds of spice manufacturers, both domestic and foreign.
The Maximark chain has reported an average growth rate of 20-30 percent per annum in the sale of spice products. The retail chain alone distributes the products of 300 suppliers.
According to Maximark Cong Hoa’s Director Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, 50 percent of the products available at the supermarket are imports from the US, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea.
Thao confirmed that spices have been selling well, especially the spices for making roast meat. Housewives need a lot of different kinds of spices to make roast meat, therefore, they would rather buy ready-made spices for easier cooking.
Meanwhile, spices for making braised pork or fish have been selling more slowly, because they are useful only to those who don’t have much experience in cooking.
The cook of a well known restaurant in HCM City said that imported products have been favorites to make European, Asian and Thai styled dishes. Meanwhile, Vietnamese prefer using domestically made spices for traditional dishes.
The ready-made spice market, though small, offers hundreds of products. Housewives, for example, have tens of choices for making pork and beef dishes.
Big opportunities for all
In the thoughts of many, the spice market is the playing field for only small enterprises. In point of fact, it is large enough for everyone to make money.
A representative of Lee Kum Kee, the Hong Kong’s well known spice producer, noted that the Vietnamese market is large enough for a lot of producers.
Lee Kum Hee’s 200 products are available in the Vietnamese market, and it still plans to expand its business here. It has been developing 25 sauce products in Vietnam only, but has obtained an impressive growth rate of 400 percent in the last few years.
Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Deputy General Director of Saigon Co-op, the biggest retail brand in the south, noted that more and more spice products are being put on supermarket shelves to satisfy the increasing demand of Vietnamese who need to prepare meals, both traditional and foreign styled ones, within a short time.