Meat consumption in Vietnam has risen significantly in the past decade (Figure 5). Even though beef accounts for the smallest level of total meat consumption, the growth in beef consumption is the fastest, with an annual growth of 11% on average (MARD 2014). This was a result of the rapid income increase, population growth and urbanisation.
Figure 5: Meat consumption in Vietnam
There are regional differences in beef consumption. According to Nguyen Le et al. (2009), South-eastern and South-central Coast show the highest per capita annual beef consumption, while Mekong Delta and North-eastern provinces exhibit the lowest average beef consumption (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Regional per capita average annual beef consumption (in kg) in Vietnam in 2006
Source: Adapted from Nguyen Le et al. (2009) based on the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey 2006
The consumers are becoming more demand, which is reflected in the segmentation of beef markets. The price and product information is used to identify three beef value markets – low, mid and high (see Figure 4 above).
In a low value market segment (e.g. wet markets), generic beef is sold for in-home consumption, which accounts for around 70-80% of total beef sold in Vietnam. Price differentials between cuts in wet markets are often not substantial. Consumers prefer to buy beef that is fresh on the day of slaughter and is not being refrigerated.
Beef sold in mid and high value markets accounts for a small percentage (around 20-30%) in supermarkets and HRI. Consumers prefer high quality beef with increased price-grade differentials. Quality characteristics mean cuts, colour, tenderness, juiciness, intramuscular fat, depending on particular types of dishes and cuisines. Health and food safety attributes are important. Generic Vietnamese beef is not suited to higher value markets, e.g. HRI as it is often too lean and unhygienic. Beef for higher value market segment is often supplied by modern abattoirs or imported.