Popping up: Vietnam’s growing appetite for snacks presents opportunity for Nestle’s Air Popcorn

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Three flavours available in Vietnam include Milk Coffee, Milk Tea and Fruit Yogurt ©Nestle Vietnam
Three flavours available in Vietnam include Milk Coffee, Milk Tea and Fruit Yogurt ©Nestle Vietnam

Related tags: Popcorn, Nestlé, Vietnam, Snacks

Nestle Vietnam has entered the popcorn category with its new Air Popcorn products targeted at the growing number of younger consumers who snack.

Nielsen reported that Vietnam was the fastest growing Asian nation in terms of snack consumption, and third in the world at 19.1% CAGR growth in 2017. Only Argentina (25.8%) and Slovakia (20%) were ranked ahead.

In Asia, Philippines ranked 7th​ at 11.6% CAGR growth, Indonesia at 11th​ (9.5% CAGR) and Thailand at 14th​ (4.4% CAGR).

As many Asian emerging markets are seeing growth in non-essential categories, like snacks, it is a good indicator that consumers in these countries have higher disposable incomes.

Snacks are popular

According to Nielsen, the snack industry was valued at US$3.4 billion globally in 2017. Europe was the biggest contributor at US$905 million, while Asia-Pacific came a close second at US$895 million.

In addition, Nestle said younger consumers tended not to consume the traditional three main meals, instead opting for five to six small meals throughout the day. “They also consume snacks more, on average eight times per week, and spend approximately USD0.7 each time​.”

While snacks sit on the line of being healthy or indulgent, Nielsen said this gives companies the opportunity to innovate and combine local preferences and convenience.

In a statement to FoodNavigator-Asia​, Nestle said: “While snacking is an indispensable part of Vietnamese consumers nowadays, we understand that consumers can sometimes feel not reassured when consuming snacks due to the fear of unhealthy ingredients and processing methods (involving oil) of snacks. Thus, we would like to offer our consumers a guilt free snacks to give themselves better treats​.”

Guilt-free snack

Air Popcorn is produced from whole-grain fibre-rich corn from US, and made using an oil-less air popped technology.

The three flavours available in Vietnam are Milk Coffee, Milk Tea and Fruit Yogurt.

According to Nestle, these flavours are familiar to Vietnamese consumers and tapped into current food trends in the region, such as the popular bubble milk tea.

The company hopes to target students and young adults between 15 to 25 years old, living in  cities, who snack and were subconsciously concerned about their own health.

The popcorn products are expected to be available in all CoopMart, Circle K stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, minimarts nationwide in March 2020. Each 40g pack of Nestle Air Popcorn will retail at VND20,800 (USD0.90).

As of now, Air Popcorn can only be found in Vietnam, although there are plans for exports soon.

Ganesan Ampalavanar, managing director at Nestle Vietnam said the company was committed to contributing to a healthier future: “We do this by offering tastier and healthier products which are suitable for all stages of life and at any time of the day. From Vietnam, we are proud to introduce an unique taste of the country through our worldwide established brand names including Maggi and Nescafe to the global markets​.”

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