The Struggle to Go Cage-Free: Vietnam's Booming Food Industry at a Crossroads

May 28, 2024

This blog post by HealthyFarm explores the challenges and opportunities Vietnam faces in transitioning to a cage-free egg industry. The research reveals a divide between international brands, which are increasingly committing to cage-free eggs, and domestic companies that haven't followed suit. While a knowledge gap and logistical hurdles hinder wider adoption, a rising consumer demand for ethically produced eggs presents a promising market opportunity. Collaboration between businesses, policymakers, and producers is crucial to establish clear standards and build a thriving cage-free market in Vietnam.

As conscious consumerism takes hold globally, Vietnam's food and beverage (F&B) industry is facing a crucial decision point. While international brands like McDonald's and Starbucks are making cage-free egg commitments, the majority of domestic companies haven't followed suit. To understand the challenges and opportunities Vietnam faces in transitioning to a more humane egg industry, HealthyFarm conducted “Corporate cage-free awareness & commitments: A Vietnam landscape study research study”. The result of the study reveals a surprising divide within Vietnam's F&B sector.

The Ethics Divide and Knowledge Gap

The study shows an equal number of businesses rating humane egg sourcing as either highly important or irrelevant. This highlights a critical need for education and awareness-building. Both businesses and producers need more crucial knowledge about humane production methods, especially regarding cage-free practices. This knowledge gap hinders their ability to collaborate effectively and accelerate the adoption of humane products.

The current level of commitment and knowledge from businesses (Source: HealthyFarm Corporate Study)

The International vs. Local Division

While international F&B companies are increasingly committing to cage-free eggs in Vietnam, domestic businesses remain largely on the sidelines. As of the research, only 1 Vietnamese grocery retailer had a public commitment compared to hundreds of international brands. This gap is evident across various sectors. Commitments are more common in F&B enterprises, hotels, and food producers, but grocery retailers, a key point of consumer access, show little movement.  Furthermore, many Vietnamese companies with existing commitments haven't translated them into concrete actions or established clear purchasing standards for humane eggs. This lack of action from domestic companies hinders the broader adoption of cage-free practices in Vietnam.

Barriers to Cage-Free Sourcing

While Vietnam might have cage-free egg producers, several factors make it difficult for businesses to source them consistently. Businesses themselves lack complete knowledge about animal welfare and cage-free practices, impacting their purchasing decisions. Additionally, unclear internal procurement procedures and an assumed consumer preference for cheaper eggs create further hurdles.

Internal challenges faced by businesses who tried purchasing humanely raised eggs (Source: HealthyFarm Corporate Study)

Externally, businesses face concerns about higher costs, perceived lower quality of cage-free eggs, and a lack of readily available certifications for ethical production. Delivery logistics prove difficult as businesses often require small, frequent deliveries, which clash with the larger volume distribution models of cage-free farms. Furthermore, the location of these farms, often far from urban centers, adds another layer of complexity. Finally, unpredictable demand from businesses hesitant to commit to fixed order quantities makes it risky for farms to invest in increased capacity or dedicated delivery services. These combined challenges create a situation where businesses struggle to find reliable cage-free egg suppliers, hindering the wider adoption of this practice in Vietnam.

External challenges faced by businesses who tried purchasing humanely raised eggs (Source: HealthyFarm Corporate Study)

The Road Ahead: Collaboration is Key

While a significant gap exists between international and domestic companies in Vietnam regarding cage-free egg commitments, the market itself shows promise. Despite a fragmented supply chain and the "Global vs. Local Divide" in priorities, there's a rising demand for cage-free eggs, fueled by a maturing consumer market increasingly concerned with animal welfare and ethical production.

A Call to Action: Beyond Businesses

The Vietnamese F&B industry is at a crossroads. While international brands are embracing cage-free eggs, domestic players risk falling behind. This presents a unique opportunity for Vietnamese farmers to become key players in a rapidly growing market segment. Businesses seeking reliable cage-free egg producers in Vietnam can find trusted partners through HealthyFarm’s farm network. Don't miss out – join the cage-free movement and unlock a lucrative future!

Read the full research report here!