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Exploring the spice production enterprises in Vietnam: The guardians of a diverse and rich cuisine

Spices are an indispensable part of Vietnamese cuisine. From rustic dishes to high-end dishes, spices always play an important role in creating the characteristic flavor of each dish. With a rich and diverse cuisine, Vietnam has many characteristic spices, contributing to creating delicious, attractive flavors for dishes. From the rich fish sauce, fragrant soy sauce, spicy garlic and onion, sharp chili and ginger, to the elegance of various herbs, all bear the imprint of Vietnamese nature. The skillful blend of spices not only creates a unique flavor for each dish but also demonstrates the sophistication, creativity, and resilience in the culinary art of the Vietnamese. Spices, with such an important role, have become the soul, the special highlight in the culinary map of Vietnam.

The Vietnamese spice market is increasingly developing with the participation of many large and small businesses. Spice manufacturers in Vietnam have a diverse scale of production, from large enterprises with foreign investment to medium and small enterprises, family businesses. Each business has its own strengths, offering consumers diverse, quality products that are suitable for the needs of each object.  Vietnamese spice companies are constantly innovating, improving product quality and searching for new spice formulas to serve consumers. They also focus on investing in technology, improving production processes to ensure food safety, preserve traditional flavors, and at the same time create new products suitable for modern trends. The spice products of Vietnamese enterprises are very diverse, including basic spices such as salt, sugar, seasoning seeds, MSG,... and characteristic spices of each region such as pepper, chili, fish sauce,... Vietnamese spice products are highly appreciated for their quality, flavor, and reasonable price. 

For many years, spice production enterprises in Vietnam have always tried to boost the export of products to the international market. Currently, Vietnamese spice products have been exported to many countries and territories around the world. It is the attraction from this market that has opened up a fierce competition in Vietnam, where domestic spice manufacturers confront multinational corporations and imported spice products.

According to a report by Euromonitor, the size of the spice market in Vietnam is valued at about 33,500 billion VND, of which 64% comes from the sauce segment. Specifically, fish sauce takes the leading position with a scale of 15,000 billion VND, followed by soy sauce and chili sauce with scales of 2,800 billion and 2,600 billion VND respectively. According to the Institute of Strategy and Policy Research (Ministry of Industry and Trade), the export turnover of Vietnamese spices in the first 8 months of 2023 reached over 1 billion USD, an increase of more than 7% compared to the same period last year. This has helped Vietnam become one of the world's leading countries in spice exports, especially pepper, cinnamon, and star anise. Regarding the growth rate of the Vietnamese spice market, according to Nielsen Vietnam, the Vietnamese spice market has grown on average from 25 - 32% annually in the period 2016 - 2022.

Regarding pepper exports, according to data published by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in 2023, Vietnam exported 267 thousand tons of pepper, earning 912 million USD, an increase of 16.6% in volume but a decrease of 6.0% in value compared to 2022. The average export price of Vietnamese pepper in 2023 reached about 3,420 USD/ton, a decrease of 19.4% compared to the same period last year. The export turnover of Vietnamese pepper to Europe, America, and Africa decreased by 22%, 22.2%, and 9.7% respectively compared to the same period in 2022. Conversely, exports to Asia and Oceania increased by 11.4% and 157.3% respectively compared to the same period last year. Currently, Vietnam is the largest supplier of pepper to the United States.

Fish sauce is becoming an export commodity of interest on the international market. Specifically, in the first 11 months of 2023, fish sauce exports reached 16,991 tons, valued at 25,414 thousand USD, an increase of 44.15% in volume and an increase of 1.47% in value compared to the same period in 2022.

According to the Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association (VPSA), chili exports in 2023 reached 20 million USD, equivalent to 10,173 tons, an increase of 107% compared to the previous year. This growth has contributed to the early completion of the export target of the entire pepper and spice industry by 2025, with the expected export turnover reaching about 2 billion USD and the total output from 400,000 to 500,000 tons. China and Laos are the two main export markets for Vietnamese chili products, with total output of 8,600 tons and 1,100 tons respectively, accounting for 85% and 10.9% of the market share.

Vietnam ranks third in the world in terms of cinnamon production and export, with a production volume of 46,000 tons, just behind Indonesia and China. In 2023, Vietnam exported 89,383 tons of cinnamon, with a total export turnover of 260.9 million USD, an increase of 14.6% in volume but a decrease of 10.7% in value compared to the previous year. With star anise, Vietnam is currently the second largest exporter in the world, just after China, with an estimated annual output of about 20,000 tons on a planting area of about 55,000 hectares.

In addition, other spice items such as cloves, ginger, white cardamom... also play an important role. The markets importing Vietnamese spices are increasingly diverse, expanding to many countries such as the US, EU, China, India, and the Middle East.

Masan Consumer

Masan Consumer, one of the two subsidiaries of Masan Consumer Holdings - a member of the Masan Group, has become a leading entity in the food and beverage industry in Vietnam since its establishment in 1996. The company has shifted from a pure export model to focus on the domestic market, and has now become a billion-dollar revenue company with a diverse product portfolio in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector. 

Masan Consumer has grown strongly thanks to its vast product portfolio, including convenience foods (such as instant noodles, ready-to-eat porridge), spices (such as soy sauce, fish sauce, chili sauce), processed meats (such as sterilized sausages, meatballs), beverages, coffee, cereals, and personal and household care products. Masan Consumer's products are not only widely consumed in Vietnam, but are also exported to many other countries such as the United States, Canada, France, the Russian Federation, Germany, and China. 

According to Masan Consumer's 2022 annual report, the spice sector remains the company's main sector, leading the market share with 2022 sales reaching 10,028 billion VND and continuing to contribute the most to the company's total revenue with 8,836 billion VND. Famous spice brands of Masan Consumer can be mentioned as Chin-Su, Nam Ngư, and Tam Thái Tử. In recent years, Masan Consumer has continued to expand its product portfolio with the criterion of being good for health, with many diverse products to provide consumers with the best choices. The company always strives to bring customers quality products, suitable for all ages and all customer groups.

Regarding the operation of Masan Consumer in the period from 2020 to 2022, there are signs of stagnation after 2021. Specifically, the company's net revenue in 2021 had growth but then slightly decreased nearly 3% compared to the same period last year, reaching nearly 27 thousand billion in 2022. Masan Consumer's after-tax profit also did not change much when ending 2022 with a very modest net profit increase of only 0.1% compared to 2021.

Ajinomoto Vietnam

Ajinomoto Vietnam Company, a subsidiary of Ajinomoto Group Japan, was established in 1991 with a total initial investment of over 8 million USD. Currently, Ajinomoto Vietnam has two main headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, along with two manufacturing plants: Ajinomoto Bien Hoa Factory (operating since 1991) and Ajinomoto Long Thanh Factory (operating since 2008). In addition, the company also has three large distribution centers in Long Thanh, Hai Duong, and Da Nang, along with more than 62 business branches and nearly 290 sales teams across the country. 

Ajinomoto Vietnam not only produces Ajinomoto monosodium glutamate - the company’s main product, but now also provides many other spices, foods, and beverages such as Aji-ngon seasoning seeds, Aji-mayo mayonnaise sauce, Aji-Quick hotpot seasoning, Ume chan sugar-soaked apricots, and Birdy canned coffee. Thanks to continuous development and progress, Ajinomoto Vietnam has received trust from Vietnamese consumers and has been awarded many prestigious awards such as the National Quality Award, the “Sustainable Green Brand” award, and has been honored many years in a row as a high-quality Vietnamese product.

2022 continues to be a year witnessing the growth in net revenue of Ajinomoto Vietnam when the company’s net revenue still maintains a stable growth momentum over the years, surpassing the level of 9 thousand billion VND in 2022, an increase of more than 16% compared to the figure achieved in 2021. Along with the growth momentum of net revenue, Ajinomoto Vietnam’s after-tax profit also recorded a recovery when it reached a mark of over 1 thousand billion VND in 2022 after a slight decline in 2021.

Vedan Vietnam

Vedan is a renowned brand from Taiwan established in 1954 and launched in the Vietnamese market in 1991. This brand quickly gained the trust of Vietnamese consumers with its high-quality monosodium glutamate product. After many years of operation, Vedan Vietnam Limited Company has built a diverse and comprehensive production system, including a sugar water starch factory, a monosodium glutamate factory, a modified starch factory, a Lysine factory, and a specialized Phuoc Thai Vedan port. 

Vedan Vietnam’s products are not only widely consumed in the domestic market but are also exported to food supply companies and international trading companies in many other countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, and Southeast Asian countries. Vedan Vietnam’s products such as monosodium glutamate, seasoning seeds, tomato sauce, chili sauce, frying powder,… have become indispensable spices in the kitchen of many Vietnamese families, contributing to creating delicious meals for millions of people. Especially, the new generation of spices from Vedan Vietnam such as pork flavor seasoning, chicken flavor seasoning, monosodium glutamate flavor enhancer… although newly launched, have been quickly accepted thanks to their convenience, helping people easily season their dishes to make them more delicious.

The period from 2020 to 2022 recorded significant fluctuations in the business situation of Vedan Vietnam. Specifically, the company’s net revenue showed signs of stagnation in 2021 although it increased but very little and then this figure increased by nearly 25%, reaching over 9 thousand billion VND at the end of 2022. On the contrary, Vedan Vietnam’s net profit declined sharply over the years. Specifically, the company’s after-tax profit was only over 100 billion VND in 2022, a decrease of nearly 85% compared to the same period in 2020.

Net revenue of spice production enterprises in Vietnam
Net revenue of spice production enterprises in Vietnam

Cholimex Food

Cholimex Food Joint Stock Company, established in 1983, has become a leading brand in the field of manufacturing and distributing condiments, sauces, and frozen foods after more than 40 years of development. Cholimex Food is not only widely known in Vietnam but also exported to more than 30 countries worldwide. The main source of income for Cholimex Food comes from the sale of chili sauce, tomato sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce. According to the company's leadership, the domestic market accounts for 70% of revenue, while the rest comes from exports to Europe, the United States, and Japan. Cholimex Food continuously innovates and expands its product portfolio to meet the increasingly diverse needs of consumers. New products such as BBQ marinade sauce, Char Siu marinade sauce, Beef stew sauce, Beef noodle soup sauce, Korean-style meat marinade sauce... have enriched the "world" of condiments, bringing rich flavors to Vietnamese family meals.  

With more than 120 distributors, 100,000 retail stalls, over 5,000 restaurants, hotels, eateries, fast food chains, and on flights, along with 7,000 supermarkets nationwide, Cholimex Food has become an indispensable part of the daily life of Vietnamese people. Cholimex Food not only ensures product quality according to national and international food safety standards but also strives to create convenient, safe products that are suitable for the broad consumer tastes of the domestic and export markets. 

The business situation of Cholimex Food recorded many positive signals when the company's net revenue and after-tax profit both grew over the years. In 2022, Cholimex Food's net revenue surpassed the level of 3 trillion VND after only hovering around 2 trillion VND in previous years. The figure of more than 200 billion VND is the net profit that Cholimex Food achieved in 2022, up nearly 20% compared to 2021.

Miwon Vietnam

Miwon Vietnam Co., Ltd, a member of the Daesang Group from South Korea, was established in 1994 and began manufacturing and business operations at the end of 1995. From 2022, the company officially changed its name to Daesang Vietnam Co., Ltd. Miwon Vietnam specializes in producing daily condiments for families, including soy sauce, fish sauce, starch, MSG, as well as a range of products imported from the Daesang Group in South Korea such as Mayonnaise sauce, mustard, seaweed, and rib marinade sauce. Among them, Miwon MSG is the most prominent product, loved and widely used by Vietnamese consumers in daily cuisine. Over the past 30 years, Miwon Vietnam has continuously improved and developed its products in terms of quality, taste, and nutritional composition, to meet the increasingly diverse and demanding needs of consumers.

Similar to Cholimex Food, Miwon Vietnam also witnessed the growth of the company’s net revenue when it surpassed the mark of 3 trillion VND in 2022. However, while Cholimex Food recorded an improvement in net profit, Miwon Vietnam was weaker when its after-tax profit significantly dropped to nearly 50 billion VND in 2022, a decrease of nearly 60% compared to the same period in 2021.

Nam Duong

Nam Duong is a famous condiment brand in Vietnam, established in 1951. This brand has built its reputation and position in the domestic and international market, thanks to its unique traditional flavored soy sauce product. Nam Duong is one of the leading brands in the sauce and condiment industry in Vietnam, with products such as soy sauce, chili sauce, tomato sauce, seasoning, and other sauces. The Nam Duong sauce brand, with the symbol “Black Cat”, has accumulated over 70 years of experience in understanding the culinary market domestically and internationally. With a development strategy focused on quality, Nam Duong is not only trusted by domestic consumers but also favored by international customers. The “Black Cat” products have been present in the United States, Canada, Russia, Balan, Hungary, Taiwan, and many other countries. In 1997, Nam Duong was awarded the Third Class Labor Medal by the President of the country. In addition, Nam Duong’s concentrated soy sauce was honored as the Best Vietnamese Soy Sauce Flavor in 2019 by Canada’s Culture Magazine.

Nam Duong’s net revenue in 2021 witnessed a decline and then improved back to nearly 800 billion VND in 2022, an increase of more than 33% compared to the same period last year. However, while net revenue improved, this brand’s after-tax profit sharply decreased to only 2 billion VND at the end of 2022.


Barona is a brand owned by Nam Phuong Food. In 2013, Nam Phuong Food officially entered the fast-moving consumer goods industry with the Barona brand. Over the years, Nam Phuong Food has continuously strived to make Barona-branded products not only come into existence but also become an indispensable part of the Vietnamese kitchen. 

Barona’s products include traditional Vietnamese products such as Barona 3-in-1 Phan Thiet Fish Sauce, Old Taste - Phu Quoc Premium Fish Sauce, and Barona Complete Spices. Currently, Barona’s products have been widely distributed across all 63 provinces in Vietnam through traditional and modern channels, with nearly 70,000 retail points and are present on most e-commerce platforms in Vietnam. In addition, Barona has expanded its distribution market abroad and has distributed products to major markets with strict import standards such as the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, Laos, and many other countries.

Barona’s net revenue has tended to stagnate over the years. Specifically, the net revenue of this brand only revolves around more than 500 billion VND and could not break through when the net revenue decreased in 2022 but the amount of net revenue decreased insignificantly. In return, the after-tax profit of this brand has shown positive signs when the net profit gradually increased each year and reached nearly 24 billion VND in 2022.

Profit after taxes of spice production enterprises in Vietnam
Profit after taxes of spice production enterprises in Vietnam

Ong Cha Va

Ong Cha Va, a long-standing condiment brand since 1939, has become an indispensable part of Vietnamese cuisine. Made official by Nosafood - a company with over 30 years of experience in the field of food production and processing, Ong Cha Va has become the “Secret of Vietnamese Chefs” thanks to its continuous improvement in product quality and selection of ingredients. This brand is an important part of Nosafood as it has contributed to making the name of Nosafood in the Vietnamese food industry. The products of the Ong Cha Va brand specialize in various types of food spices such as pepper, curry leaves, cinnamon powder, chicken pho spice cubes, curry marinade, Thai hotpot sauce, and many other products. 

The year 2022 witnessed the growth in net revenue of the Ong Cha Va brand when the net revenue reached nearly 200 billion VND, an increase of more than 30% compared to the same period in 2021. The after-tax profit of this brand reached nearly 16 billion VND in 2022.

DH Foods

DH Foods Joint Stock Company, established in 2012, has had over a decade of operation in the field of manufacturing and trading Vietnamese spices. The company’s main products include Dipping Salt, Natural Spices, Dipping Sauce, Fish Sauce, Pickled Vegetables. DH Foods always adheres to the criteria of “NO synthetic color, NO preservatives, NO impurities”, thereby creating safe and quality spice products for consumers. DH Foods’ products are all classified according to the specialties of different regions. In addition, DH Foods is also a dynamic enterprise, not hesitating to invest in building domestic and international brands. From the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023, DH Foods participated in at least 3 major international fairs and exhibitions. Currently, DH Foods’ products are widely available in most supermarkets in Vietnam and are exported to many countries such as Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia…

Along with the general upward trend, DH Foods also showed an improvement in its net revenue when it recorded growth over 3 years, although 2022 only showed a slight increase of nearly 9% compared to 2021, reaching over 150 billion VND. The net profit of this brand shows a negative sign when 2022 recorded a loss of nearly 4 billion VND while previously in 2020 and 2021 the company still had positive net profit.

Based on data published by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the average population of Vietnam in 2023 reached 100,3 million people, corresponding to over 27 million households. This number is expected to continue to increase in the future. This indicates that the demand for spices in Vietnamese meals is growing. With the development of society, product trends are expanding according to the diverse and convenient needs of consumers. Products such as dipping sauces, marinades for dishes (like Thai hotpot, braised fish…) are being launched in the market. In the city market, the traditional spice segment is gradually returning due to consumer health concerns when using industrial spices. Conversely, in rural areas, the demand for food spices is quite basic, mainly fish sauce, soy sauce, and chili sauce. Therefore, there are still many opportunities for businesses to enter the market and develop new products.

According to Mr. Le Viet Anh - Office Chief of the Vietnam Pepper and Spice Association (VPSA), although the spice market has high demand and Vietnam has many advantages in exporting spices, the Vietnamese spice industry is still facing many challenges. Other spice items such as cinnamon, star anise, chili, except for pepper, do not yet have a sustainable development strategy. Businesses are still lacking in technology and investment capital for deep processing, enhancing product value. In addition, political instability can cause price instability, while competition from other producing countries such as Brazil with pepper, Indonesia and China with cinnamon continues. In addition, unpredictable climate change is also a major challenge for global agriculture, while costs continue to rise will greatly affect supply. However, Vietnam still owns more than 1,000 unique spices, including very characteristic types that no country has. This is a great advantage that can help increase the value of Vietnamese spices in the future, not only building a brand but also developing into a spice economy. This also requires an effective quality management framework and brand promotion so that businesses can compete and develop in a fair and healthy environment. 

In the future, the Vietnamese spice industry will continue to develop strongly, contributing to the overall development of the economy. Let's look forward to the next achievements of the Vietnamese spice industry in the coming time.

Source: Vietdata's 2022 Spice Industry Report.


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