Dragon fruit noodles? Firms create new food products as exports to China slump
The Viet Nam Flour Corporation (Vikybomi) has created new food products made from wheat flour and farm produce such as dragon fruit and watermelon amid a reduction in fruit exports to China.
Huynh Kim Chi, chairwoman of the Viet Nam Flour Corporation, introduces the company’s fresh dragon fruit noodles to customer on the sidelines of a conference held in HCM City last week.
Huynh Kim Chi, company chairwoman, said that her company had successfully come up with a recipe for fresh dragon fruit noodles, which are selling well at a noodle shop in Can Tho City.
Due to the nature of her business, which supplies flour materials, her company would not sell fresh dragon fruit noodles directly to consumers, but would transfer the recipe for free to manufacturers to help consume more dragon fruits.
In the future the company would create more new recipes with farm produce, she said.
Chu Tien Dung, chairman of the HCM City Union of Business Associations, said exports of Vietnamese farm produce, especially dragon fruit and watermelon, had fallen because of the Covid-19 epidemic's effect on trade with China, the largest buyer for the products.
To help farmers make use of their products, many businesses had created new products using dragon fruit and watermelon, gaining positive results, he said.
Le Duy Toan, director of Duy Anh Foods Import Export Co. Ltd, said his company had experience in producing rice-based products that use vegetables and tubers such as beetroot, carrot and black sesame.
“When we heard that Vietnamese farm produce faced problems in consumption, we conducted research to develop new products using watermelon and dragon fruit for the domestic market and for exports.
“This will, on one hand, help us diversify our product portfolio, and, on the other hand, support consumption of farmers’ produce.”
The company’s watermelon-rice vermicelli and dragon-fruit rice paper are exported to South Korea, Japan and Australia. Sales of the products in the domestic market are also going very well.
His company was using 1.2-1.5 tonnes of watermelon and 300 kilogrammes of dragon fruit a day, he said. If demand goes up, the figure could rise.
He also revealed that “In the long term, his company plans to co-operate with farmers to cultivate watermelon and buy all of the fruit after harvesting.”
In addition, the company was conducting research to produce items that use bananas and pumpkin, he added.
ABC Bakery has succeeded in creating a new type of bread that used up tonnes of dragon fruit. The bright pink dragon fruit bread became an instant hit, with consumers forming long lines to buy the product.
In the first 10 days of making the new product, the company bought nearly 30 tonnes of dragon fruit from farmers and supplied about 30,000 loaves of dragon fruit bread to the market.
Kao Sieu Luc, general director of ABC Bakery, said he wanted to share the recipe of making dragon fruit bread to other bakeries to help farmers.
After his success with dragon fruit bread, Luc created bread using dragon fruit and durian, which was popular with customers who queued up to buy it.
“In addition to the two new types of bread, I have experimented with making bread using watermelon and banana, but with our production chain running at full capacity now, we have not produced and sold the watermelon and banana bread yet.” — VNS
While COVID-19 will have a negative impact on Vietnam's economic growth in 2020, it will boost the relocation of manufacturing facilities from China to Vietnam.
The service sectors of China as well as of Vietnam—including transport, accommodation, tourism, retail, hospitality and entertainment—will be hardest hit by the 2019-nCoV outbreak.