Every country and culture has its own idiosyncrasies when it comes to food consumption, which are best explained with data. Separately, we’ve covered ground on macro socio-economic patterns surrounding Vietnam’s F&B sector. This time round, we deliver an in-depth report on the facts and trends underlying this growing economy.

For this article, we have referenced Decision Lab’s Out-of-Home Food & Drink Consumption Trends Vietnam report for Quarter 2 2016.

In Quarter 2 of 2016 alone, there were 340 million visits to F&B outlets. 15-35 year olds make up the majority of visits, which not a surprise give the young median age of the nation. Among the consumption categories,

The top 3 segments were quick service (36%), fast casual (35%), followed by street food (11%). Breaking it down geographically, on average, consumers in Ha Noi paid considerably more per person per visit when eating out than those in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

So..what about the reasons for dining out then? Well, 50% of diners chose this option for Convenience / Practicality reasons, 45% as a Treat / Indulgence, while only 5% of diners pick a restaurant for Health reasons. This provides a clear indication that the healthy eating trend has not picked up in this region. Furthermore, there is a strong tendency towards consuming protein (fish / meat) dishes versus vegetables.

Next, onto beverage consumption, beer dominates the category. This is followed by juices, coffee and finally soft drinks. Upon further breakdown, we discover that men unevenly dominate the consumption of beer, while women strongly dominate the consumption of juices and smoothies, revealing a gender correlation when it comes to drinks consumption.

Decision Lab: Are Western outlets affordable enough to become an everyday staple in Vietnam

Concept wise, Asian Restaurants (Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai etc) dominate the market with 53%, while Western concepts (Italian, French, American etc) only consist 7%. Yet, average spending on Western concepts are 2.5x that of Asian concepts. A further surprising trend, delivery sales can be double dine-in sales in both Asian and Western concepts.

How about the factors for dining out then? Location is an interestingly strong deciding factor for choice of dining, with convenience and even cleanliness outranking taste and quality of food.

When it comes to the meal of the day, breakfast is the biggest out-of-home consumption occasion. 3 out 4 respondents expressed visiting the same breakfast outlet 3 to 7 times in a week. This is closely followed by lunch, while dinner draws less than half the demand of lunch.

Overall, Western are perceived to be of better service, cleanliness and atmosphere than Asian ones, while Asian concepts are preferred for their taste.

An interesting local food trend to note, the impact of Korean pop culture and Western food like pizza & burgers have led to the rise of ‘Cheesemania’: cheese becoming an key flavour and ingredient within local food. This spans from Western food, to Asian flavours and even street food.

As far as market data suggests to us, Vietnamese F&B consumption patterns can be vastly different from other markets. That’s why as much as foreign brands are excited to penetrate the hungry market, we believe much due diligence is required in terms of tweaking concepts and operational frameworks where necessary.

For this reason, Chef At Work’s Vietnamese team works closely with every client looking to enter this market. Interested to find out how we can work together? Get in touch today!