June 2014


Welcome to the second issue of the USAPEEC ASEAN Regional Office. This newsletter intends to provide our readers with useful product and market information for institutional and consumer users of U.S. poultry. Readers will find in every issue a variety of general market information, program activities, as well as useful product information. This month, we take a look at several market perspectives in the individual ASEAN countries.


  • Market prospects for imported consumer-oriented products in Vietnam
  • Opportunity for US ingredients in Philippine industry
  • Malaysia to be a major international accreditation and certification center for halal foods
  • Halal-certified meats and poultry gaining significance in Singapore
  • Japan to allow Thai chicken exports
  • Brunei imposes Syariah criminal code

Tom Taylor and Margaret Say of USAPEEC with chefs from several Singapore restaurants


USAPEEC Office is the one stop office for trade contacts

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You can visit our ASEAN website at: www.usapeecasean.com




Market prospects for imported consumer oriented products in Vietnam

Despite the fact that most Vietnamese consumers still shop at traditional Mom and Pop stores, there is a very discernible swing towards shopping in the larger air-conditioned supermarket stores which offer a wide range of new consumer products.

Traditional retailers which occupy a dominant 96 per cent market share of the retail food sector have the advantages of lower operating costs; including rental and wages in addition to offering personal service convenience, package size flexibility and low prices, especially fresh foods.

Total grocery retail sales in Vietnam is estimated to be about US$43 billion in 2012.

The modern retailers consisting of supermarkets, hypermarkets and convenience stores registered a total of US$1.8 billion in sales in 2012.

Factors driving the fast growing modern retail sectors include:

  • A rapidly expanding middle class together with rising consumer incomes
  • A large proportion of working women who makes the purchasing decisions for their households
  • Increasing acceptance of readily packaged foods.
  • Western type products and leading Western brand names are recognized for their high standards of quality.
  • Showcases for the introduction of new to the market products.

Local supermarket chains dominate the modern retail sector. The major supermarket chains are Saigon Co-op, Vinatex-mart, Maximark, Citimart and Intimex. The five foreign-owned retail chains are Big C (French Casino group), Metro Cash & Carry (German-owned), Giant (Hong Kong headquartered Dairy Farm Group), Lotte Mart (Korean group) and Parkson (Malaysian- owned).

Imports of U.S. consumer-oriented foods into Vietnam totaled $657 million in 2012. U.S. products which offer best market prospects include tree nuts, fresh fruit, snack foods, poultry parts, dairy products, beef products, pork products, packaged fruit juices, processed foods and wines.




Market opportunities for U.S. Ingredients in Philippine food processing industry

The food processing industry has been expanding at a very robust rate, quadrupling to US$27.1 billion over a five-year period between 2009 and 2013.

The Philippine food processors cover sectors such as beverages, coffees and cacao, dairy products, condiments, fats and oils, baking products, fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry products, seafood products, snack foods and confectionery.

As Philippines imports most of the raw materials and ingredients, there are ample opportunities for U.S. food ingredients suppliers. Major food processors include Nestle Philippines (beverages, condensed and evaporated milk), San Miguel Brewers (beer) Coca –Cola Bottles Philippines (soft drinks), Universal Robina (snack products), Dole Philippines (fruits and fruit juices), Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines (soft drinks).

Best product prospects include poultry cuts and chicken feet, mechanically de-boned meat, trimming and beef offal, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen and concentrated fruit and vegetable juices, dried and dehydrated fruit, vegetables and nuts, seafood products(salmon heads and bellies, squid, crab claws), fats and edible oils.




Malaysia intends to be a major international accreditation and certification center for halal foods

Malaysia has considered itself as one of the pioneer countries in, producing and distributing halal-certified foods. For decades now, imports of poultry, beef and lamb into the Malaysian market should be halal-certified. Except for Chinese restaurants, most of Malaysia’s restaurants are also halal-certified. Other packaged foods that are retailed in supermarkets should bear the mark of halal certification if they are meant to be consumed by Muslims.

However in recent years, Malaysia has been busy in marketing its halal expertise to non-Muslim countries.

The current global halal-certified food is estimated to be US$1 trillion. It is forecast to grow to US$1.6 trillion by 2018. International food manufacturer, Nestle, which sells halal products in a large number of Muslim nations, gets its halal certification from Malaysia.

In January, Brahim’s Holdings, the world’s biggest in-flight halal meal provider, concluded a contract with All Nippon Airways (ANA) to help create halal Japanese cuisine on ANA flights.

Growing middle class wealth in Muslim-majority countries has resulted in millions of Muslim travelers who yearn to travel to non-traditional and non-Muslim tourist destinations including Japan, Korea, China and Thailand.

One of the biggest constraints is to convince Muslim travelers that the inflight meal they consume on board is halal-certified.




Halal-certified meats and poultry gaining significance in Singapore

Although more than 80 percent of Singapore’s population is non-Muslim, we are observing that halal- certified meats and poultry are growing in demand by fast food chains and independently-operated restaurants.

Food establishments who are able to assure their customers that their food is halal ensure not only the loyalty of domestic Muslim customers but the large numbers of Muslim tourists that visit Singapore from Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

Fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Swenson’s, DeliFrance, Long John Silver and Pizza Hut offer halal foods in their restaurants.

While Singapore’s import regulations do not require imported meat and poultry to be halal-certified before being allowed entry, some of Singapore traders have expressed preference for halal certified meats to ensure that they have a wider distribution network of institutional and retail customers.

Several five star hotels such as The Grand Hyatt offer all halal foods in its Straits Kitchen restaurant while Fairmont Hotel offers halal buffet meals in its Asian Market Cafe restaurant.




Japan re-opens its market for Thai chicken exports

Japan has recently announced that it will allow the re-import of Thai frozen uncooked chicken to Japan.

Thailand’s frozen chicken import was banned since January 2004 when an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza was detected.

Thai chicken exports to the rest of the world totaled 520,000 metric tons in 2013.

Thailand anticipates it will export about 50,000 metric tons of chicken meat to Japan.

The re-entry of Thai chicken meat will be a greater competitive threat to Brazilian chicken exports to the Japanese market as both countries export similar product lines which are boneless fancy cuts.

The U.S. exports mostly bone-in chicken to the Japanese market.




Brunei imposes Syariah Criminal Code

Brunei has announced that it will impose the Syariah Criminal Code from May 1 2014. Previously Brunei’s Criminal Code was based on English common law. Brunei’s new Syariah Penal Code includes harsh punishments for some acts will be introduced in three phases.

The first phase announced on May 1 include fines and imprisonment or both, for eating or drinking during fasting hours in the month of Ramadan, skipping Friday prayers (for male adults) and giving birth out of wedlock.

In order to avoid accusations of being non-compliant with requirements to attend Friday prayers, restaurants and shops will shut for a two hour period from noon on Fridays.

Customers in Brunei will have to adjust their meal and shopping times to accommodate the new operating hours for most establishments.

Phase Two which will begin next May covers offences such as theft for which punishments include whipping and amputation of limbs.

Phase Three kicks in from May 2016 onwards where those found guilty of sodomy and adultery will face the possibility of being stoned to death.


Istana Nurul Iman – Official residence of the Sultan of Brunei

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