Affluent Vietnamese buy American lobsters, foreign fruits
One kilo of fresh lobster is priced at VND1-1.3 million (up to $57) and one kilo of frozen lobster costs VND700,000 per kilo. Vietnamese prefer fresh to frozen, and prefer big lobsters weighing 1-2 kilo.
However, American lobsters are cheaper than Vietnamese lobster, sold at VND1.2-1.9 million per kilo.
American lobster was even cheaper than sausage in late 2010 when the lobster wholesale price was just $2.25/pound, or VND90,000 per kilo.
However, lobster has become hot in Asian countries, including China, South Korea and Vietnam. Vietnamese in 2016 spent VND700 billion to import American lobsters, an increase of 200 times if compared with 2010-2016.
In 2016, China imported more than $108 million in lobsters from America, surpassing the previous high of about $90.2 million in 2014, according to CNBC.
Doan Hung pomelo is sold at VND20,000-30,000 per kilo, while Dien pomelo at VND30,000-70,000 and Buoi Da Xanh (green-skin pomelo) at VND50,000-90,000 per kilo. All of them are Vietnamese specialties favored all over the world.
However, Vietnamese now prefer the pomelo from the US and Australia, though the products are expensive at VND200,000-260,000 per kilo.
The owner of an import fruit shop in Dong Da district in Hanoi said she can sell nearly 100 pomelos each day. Each pomelo weighs two kilos, so people have to pay no less than VND500,000 for each.
Vietnamese also like Taiwanese custard-apple, Egyptian pomegranate and Japanese sweet potatoes, though they are more expensive than Vietnamese products.
Eating American lobsters is now in vogue in Vietnam. They cannot be found at traditional markets and must be bought from online shops and shops specializing in distributing luxury imports.
Taiwanese custard-apple is twice as large as Vietnam’s product, priced at VND360,000-550,000 per kilo, 6-10 times more expensive. Egyptian pomegranate is called "giant pomegranate," priced at VND240,000-400,000 per kilo.
Vietnam spent up to $194 million on fruit and vegetable imports between January and March 15 this year, or $2.9 million per day.
In 2016, 45 percent of Vietnam’s imported vegetables and fruits were from Thailand, while 25% was from China, with the remainder from other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
While Vietnam’s fruits are popular among choosy consumers in the US, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, the products have to struggle to cement their positions in the domestic market. ■