Vietnam’s young population is seen as the key to the country’s economic growth. With almost 25% of the population aged between 16 and 30, according to UNFPA. They are a powerful force that brings uniqueness and creativity to the F&B industry.
The young generation sets new trends in food, and are also the ones who demand and utilize products and services. A report by Decision Lab also stated, “Generation Z is a cohort that the food and beverage industry needs to sit up and pay attention to.” Despite the relatively low incomes, Gen Z spends a high proportion of their money purchasing food and drinks out of home, almost 900.000 VND (approx. 40USD) a month. As a generation that has the highest curiosity, according to Decision Lab, the Gen-Zs are also the best market for foodservice outlets specializing in diverse, foreign cuisines.
Consumer health and wellness
Since the pandemic, people are willing to spend more to keep themselves well. This has given rise to new diet trends, with consumers demanding food packages that promise healthier living — like gluten-free or keto meals and brain-boosting foods.
Locally, industry players can also take advantage of Vietnamese people’s eating habits — love for greens, healthy snacking, and the fact that most Vietnamese prefer eating out in groups.
Beyond personal health, consumers have also grown to become more aware of their surroundings and seek F&B brands they share the same ethics with. This has paved the way for industry players to be more cautious about their environmental footprints, from sourcing their ingredients to packaging the products.
A shift in consumer payment habits
With the pandemic, consumers globally have adopted a digital-first approach in how they live, shop and work, with many adopting cashless habits such as QR codes, mobile phone payments and contactless cards to make everyday transactions in a safer and contact-free manner.
According to Mastercard New Payments Index 2021, 84% of consumers in the Asia-Pacific have seen their access to emerging forms of payments increase in 2020 alone. While 88% used at least one emerging payment type in the last year, two-thirds of all respondents (including 75% of millennials) say they tried new payment methods that they would not have tried were it not for the pandemic. In fact, 60% of consumers polled say they would avoid merchants that do not accept electronic payments of any kind.
“The pandemic has accelerated a shift towards adopting digital-first habits in Vietnam, and these are here to stay for the long-term. As a result, consumers are now expecting more omni-channel and seamless digital experiences when they interact with businesses including F&B. To meet these evolving demands, businesses must always adopt a digital-first approach which puts consumer needs at the core of their businesses. This is imperative to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and stay ahead of the competition”, said Winnie Wong, Country Manager, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Mastercard. “Mastercard continues to remain committed to working with key players in Vietnam’s F&B sector to harness the power of data, bring innovative payments solutions and rewarding experiences that can help the industry recover and become more resilient than ever.”
Flavors Vietnam 2022, the third annual gastronomy festival with Mastercard as the title sponsor, is off to a great start. The festival kicked off a series of exciting events, starting with the Vietnam Food & Beverage Conference in Hanoi and HCMC. Discussions revolved around the challenges the industry faced and is still facing, as well as insights into trends, digital transformation for seamless dining experiences, safety and security, and the undeniable growing demand for high-quality and high-value products and how F&B players can fulfill them in the most sustainable, innovative ways.
With all the ups and downs experienced by the F&B industry as it navigated through the pandemic, the conferences in Hanoi and HCMC opened a much-needed knowledge-sharing platform among experts, decision-makers, and enthusiasts who are working to make the F&B sector more resilient in 2022 and beyond. The list of Vietnam Restaurant & Bar Award 2022 was also revealed at the end of the conference.