Analysts at the Norwegian Seafood Council are seeing Vietnam as the new Thailand, with a growing seafood market driven primarily by the demand for salmon, but also for trout and mackerel.
According to Ørjan Kjærvik Olsen, responsible for new markets at the Seafood Council, exports to Vietnam have trailed behind those going to Thailand, but are now growing strongly.
‘This is a market that Norwegian seafood producers should take note of, because it could become the new Thailand,’ he said.
‘Almost 100 million people live in Vietnam, seafood consumption is increasing and purchasing power has doubled in the last ten years.’
He commented that from being a seafood processing region, Vietnam has become a consuming country.
‘If we look at the figures so far this year , Vietnam is now Southeast Asia’s second largest salmon market, after Thailand,’ he said and commented that Norwegian shellfish, with king crab products in the lead, are also doing well in Vietnam.
The growth in salmon consumption in Thailand has primarily been driven by the rising numbers of sushi restaurants and increased sushi consumption. Ørjan Kjærvik Olsen predicts a high probability that the same trend will be seen in Vietnam.
There has been a concerted effort to boost the consumption of Norwegian seafood – salmon in particular – turning this into a familiar product. A report commissioned by the Norwegian Seafood Council concludes that ten years ago, salmon was unknown in Vietnam, but today everyone is familiar with this. It states that salmon consumption has increased by 20% annually over the past five years.
‘This is due, among other things, to the fact that more people can afford to buy salmon and that salmon has become available on the shelves. In addition, people are more concerned that salmon is healthy, something that intensified during the pandemic,’ Ørjan Kjærvik Olsen said.
Seafood export volumes to Vietnam were over 16,000 tonnes in 2022, and valued at around NoK850 million, and salmon accounted for roughly 11,600 tonnes of that total. The report also found that close to 90% of the salmon consumed in Vietnam is Atlantic, and most of this is eaten fresh.
‘Raw salmon and sushi have started to become trendy here too, especially among younger people, and especially in the two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh,’ Ørjan Kjærvik Olsen said, commenting that a sushi wave it likely to sweep through the Vietnamese market.