Vietnam’s health supplement market is seeing a rapid increase due to the country’s demand for health-related and personal care products.

In this article, Vietnam Briefing gives an overview of the health supplement market including industry drivers, challenges, and market entry options and requirements for investors.

Vietnamese health products have started to see a rapid increase recently compared to its regional peers.

Over the last two decades, there have been substantial changes in Vietnam’s health supplement (also known as dietary foods or functional foods). Based on a report from the British Chamber of Commerce in August 2021, the total market value of the local health supplement market reached US$562.9 billion, with a growth rate of 13 percent. And the year-on-year (y-o-y) average growth rate of the market is expected to be 20 percent in the next 10 years.

The fastest-growing middle-income classe in Southeast Asia

Vietnam possesses one of the fastest-growing middle-income and affluent classes in Southeast Asia. According to the World Bank, in 2020, Vietnam’s GDP per capita was US$2,785 while the government will attempt to reach GDP growth of up to 6.5 percent in 2022. This is expected to have a positive effect on consumer spending and drive the demand for products that can cover the nutritional deficit.

Further, with a population of approximately 97 million people, more than 8 million of whom are over the age of 65, the demand for healthcare supplements in Vietnam has expanded significantly in recent years.

The local population is becoming more aware of health risks, prevention through the use of dietary food products to alleviate diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease which have increased.

Self-medication has been recognized as a common issue in Vietnam. The self-medication rate has ranged from 40 percent to 60 percent in rural areas and up to 76 percent in urban areas. This practice is favored due to the lax management of over-the-counter medications and the increasing cost of healthcare services.

The cost of paying for medical examination and treatment services from the pocket of individuals is at 43 percent, quite high compared to many countries in the world. This is related to the fact that health insurance funds have not yet covered the full range of health care needs and services while the level of financial coverage is limited.

Growing demand for health supplements

The growing demand for health supplements has resulted in increased usage of imported products as people tend to trust these brands more than domestic ones. Foreign brands tend to be positioned in the premium segment to attract mid-to-high-end consumers, while local brands generally concentrate on the mass market.

Further, foreign players are more active in non-herbal or traditional dietary supplements, while local players are more active in herbal/traditional/curing items. Imported goods account for 40 percent of the market, indicating that locals are more open to trying foreign brands.

In Vietnam, herbal, traditional, and curing supplement products accounted for more than 70 percent of the market in 2021.  It has been forecast that herbal supplements will continue to dominate the health supplement market.

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This article was first published by VietnamBriefing which is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and Russia. Readers may write to [email protected].

About the author

ASEAN Briefing features business news, regulatory updates and extensive data on ASEAN free trade, double tax agreements and foreign direct investment laws in the region. Covering all ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)

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