Last season, Vietnamese pomelo production reduced significantly due to unfavorable weather conditions. The fruit had been in high demand since last September but, as the Vietnamese New Year is coming soon, pomelos, especially the Hồ Lô” pomelo, are selling very fast and there is a product shortage in the market.
“The Hồ Lô” pomelo is like the regular pomelo, but has letters on it. The letters represent good fortune and wishes for a prosperous new year. Apart from the Hồ Lô” pomelo, local consumers always make five-fruit trays during the Vietnamese New Year period. People think each type of fruit has a special meaning. For example, pomelo and coconut represent complete happiness, while dragon fruit and papaya signify prosperity, and red apples indicate wealth. People place five types of fruits in one tray, to send a message of hope for happiness, good luck and prosperity.” Anna explains.
“At the moment, the domestic market price of the pomelo is very high due to a supply shortage, which leads to pressure on our exports. We expect that by the end of March, domestic market demand will be lower, and we will then have more fruits available for export.”
The use of biodegradable packaging material is a growing trend in Vietnam. True Fruit has continuously invested a lot in developing eco-friendly packaging’s for pomelo.
“There are lots of water hyacinths that grow in the Southern River region in Vietnam. Many people consider water hyacinths an “environmental disaster”, causing problems for waterway traffic, obstructing the flow on canals, piling up and causing heavy environmental pollution. For a long time, people did not know what to do with this fast growing plant. Only in 2000 did companies start to look into this plant and make valuable products out of it.” Anna said.
“We are now using water hyacinths as pomelo packaging material. This biodegradable material replaces traditional plastic materials. Water hyacinth packaging has become very popular in our export market such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Germany and Russia. Not only has biodegradable packaging material helped us in generating more sales, but it also boosted our handicraft sector.”
When asked about the cost, Anna said, “the water hyacinth bag is sold together with the pomelo. Although the cost of bag is quite high, around 4-5 times higher than that of plastic ones. But we still want to work in an environmentally-friendly way, and together with our importers, we believe using biodegradable packaging will become a trend in the pomelo business.”
Besides pomelo, True Fruits also exports large volumes of a variety of tropical fruits such as coconut, limes, dragon fruits and ginger.