Coming back from the supermarket and then diving into preparing fresh food is the cooking routine Nguyen Thu Ha often does at home every week.
This is a new habit for Ha, a marketing communications staff at a bank in Hanoi. When the pandemic flared up and the Covid-19 restrictions imposed, she was compelled to change the habits of living and cooking being confined at home.
“Health is the top priority of each family since the pandemic broke out. Although I’m busy at work, the job of cooking, from buying fresh food to processing always has to be performed with thoroughness,” she told The Hanoi Times.
She often buys fresh vegetables and food at prestigious retail stores in Hanoi, so she feels sure of food safety.
|Screenshot from Ha Na’s Way page.|
On the Ha Na’s Way page she created two years ago, there were a lot of comments showing concerns about food safety and the necessity of recipes that ensure nutrition, diversity, and time/cost savings when they have to cook three meals at home each day.
“I spent time on learning how to cook faster, easier, and most importantly to ensure food safety and quality for my family. And the answer is the way to store food and use suitable kitchen utensils such as annealing pots and air fryers,” she said.
In the context of restricted interaction, the page also helped her interact with friends and those who have a passion for cooking, share experiences, and “do-it-yourself” (DIY) tips at home, Ha said happily.
DIY at home is priority
The trend of DIY at home continues even after the end of the social distancing period in many localities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Though the demand for on-site dining has gradually returned, cooking at home all the time is one of the easy-to-see trends amid the crowd's fear due to the risk of Covid-19 transmission and tight budget, according to local insiders.
Nguyen Thi Nhu Ngoc, Senior Marketing Manager of Worldpanel Division, Kantar Vietnam said the trend is reasonable. After the disease, the changes in consumer thoughts and lifestyles have been divided into different groups.
“Among these, there is a group of people who are still very afraid of the crowd because the infection risk remains high in spite of the high vaccination rate, or another who are still cautious about spending due to the decline in their income during the pandemic,” Ngoc told The Hanoi Times. “Eating at home is more economical.”
Being of the same mind, Kengo Kurokawa, Founder of Asia Plus Inc, owing Q&Me online research platform, said the “wallet” of Vietnamese consumers, particularly blue workers, shop workers/owners, are tight right now and they tend to save money rather than spending.
He noted Covid-19 has changed the way Vietnamese buy and eat food and beverages. The reluctance of going out is the opportunity for online food providers/deliveries. The usage of online apps for ordering food & beverage went up drastically during the pandemic.
“They used to have high concerns on the quality of online transactions particularly for food, but these experiences have taken these concerns away. Now they feel the online experience is convenient and comfortable,” he added.
|Screenshot from Bep Huong Mum.|
A surge in online consumption among Vietnamese people is also the opportunity for online food sellers like Nguyen Thu Huong, a Hanoian officer and cooking lover in Hai Ba Trung District.
“Online shopping sharply increases especially for pre-cooked food in the context of the closure of shops to comply with the government's directive to prevent and control Covid-19. It is time I start cooking and selling food online,” she told The Hanoi Times.
She underlined that freshness and safety are the selling points for providing food on digital channels. Finding a clean and safe food source is extremely important. “The input of food must be chosen very carefully. I always prefer prestigious suppliers whose food has clear origin to order,” she said.
Thanks to these factors, orders surged mainly from her friends and new customers. She said she had to work from 5 am to 12 pm to fulfill the orders every day.
“In this industry, profit should not be the priority but the health of the customer. As a result, my business is quite good,” she said with a smile.
Kurokawa from Asia Plus commented that in the meantime, Vietnamese are more accustomed to procuring food via digital channels that help them enjoy their cuisines at home, either by cooking or delivery. Having said that, they also are looking forward the city will returning to normal so that they could enjoy dining out with their colleagues or friends.
“So I believe the changes made by these Covid-19 is: Vietnamese feel familiar and enjoy the convenience of buying food via online channels and the situation creates a huge opportunity for digital food providers to expand the market,” he told The Hanoi Times.
He predicted it will take some time for the Vietnamese to feel less concerned over Covid-19 and cease to hesitate to go out as they used to be due to both of the economical and emotional reasons.