An overview of the cheese market in Vietnam
Cheese often appears in Western meals but it is not very popular at the Vietnamese tables except to decorate the pasta, consumed mainly by young people. These ten last years, cheese market in Vietnam is growing. Vietnamese parents have given their children cheese as a food supplement, just like milk or yogurt. Cheese consumption tends to develop via fastfood, in particular with pizza or “banh mi”, Vietnamese sandwiches.
The biggest cheese suppliers
The most popular cheese brand of Vietnam is the “Laughing Cow”, “Con Bò Cười” in Vietnamese from Bel group. Bel occupies 70% of the Vietnamese market and supplies all Southeast Asia. In Vietnam, since 2010, Bel group has just inaugurated a new factory in Binh Duong province, allowing to double the current production capacity, and produces more than 3 million portions of “Con Bò Cười” every week.
Another French dairy and cheese group, Lactalis, is also present in Vietnam through its Vietnamese supplier, Hoang Lan Group. Some 500 tonnes of President brand cheese are sold on the Vietnamese market, which places the group among the biggest suppliers in Vietnam.
Before Bel’s arrival, New Zealand-based Fonterra Co-operative was the largest supplier.
Cheese in vietnamese supermarkets
Self-service cheese is more and more easily found in Vietnamese supermarkets. All the cheeses present are imported cheeses from France, New Zealand, Australia…
In addition, these cheeses are mostly industrial with a long shelf life to withstand long transportation from their country. Thus, these imported industrial cheeses do not have much taste. Raw milk cheeses do not exist on the shelves of conventional supermarkets such as VinMart, Circle K or Big C.
There are, however, specialist shops with a wider cheese section. These shops are mostly present in expat districts of big cities. These include Annam Gourmet, which sells many quality French cheeses.
Cheeses in Vietnamese restaurants
Cheese is increasingly present in restaurants in Vietnam. Especially with the rise of fast food, cheese is consumed through pizzas and other fairly fatty snacks. The king of fastfood cheeses is mozzarella.
Mozzarella is a cheese of Italian origin which is very runny when it melts. This cheese is now produced industrially and has almost no taste. The quality of fast food mozzarella is far from the quality of Béjo cheeses.
The other restaurants with cheese in their dishes are the French restaurants located in Vietnam. These pretty chic restaurants are present in the big cities of Vietnam. On the menu, quality French cheeses cooked in a refined way or presented in a more classic way on a platter.
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