Market appeal in an emerging economy: Supermarkets and poor consumers in Vietnam
With the arrival and development of supermarkets, Vietnam is currently experiencing significant changes to its food system and more particularly the distribution system. The objective of this paper is to analyse the risks and benefits of this development to poor urban consumers in Vietnam. The analysis is based on surveys of food purchasing practices conducted in Hanoi from 2004 to 2006. It shows that poor consumers depend on a diversified network of formal and informal outlets to ensure food accessibility, credit opportunities and low prices. Poor consumers purchase very little from supermarkets due to material constraints (price, transport, etc.), although they have a high opinion of supermarkets and in particular the quality of the products sold. In order to be favourable to poor consumers, food distribution policies should aim to maintain the balance of the different forms of outlets and enforce public quality standards to guarantee the right of all to safe food.
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