The Vietnam urban food consumption & expenditure study


Vietnam is a country in transition. The population now exceeds 90 million and people are increasingly living in urban areas. Food purchase and consumption patterns are also changing. Food safety is a growing concern for consumers and there is anecdotal evidence indicating consumer demand for certification that guarantees product safety and production methods e.g. organic. Urban centres in Vietnam now host a number of retail outlets for consumers to choose from when buying produce, including traditional outlets such as wet markets and modern options such as supermarkets. 
This research has been designed to obtain information about household food consumption patterns, expenditure on different food products, and other data that can be used to identify and or characterise profitable and sustainable marketing opportunities for smallholder farmers.

Project objectives

The primary aim of this project is to address a number of knowledge and data gaps with a focus on understanding changing consumption patterns in the large and rapidly emerging urban areas in Vietnam.

More specifically, the objective was to understand consumer demand and determinants of demand for food, and in particular high value agricultural products (e.g. beef, fruits and vegetables), in four urban areas of Vietnam and their contribution to household diet quality.

Project outputs

Over the coming months we will be analysing the data collected from the surveys. As we develop an understanding of our data and results we will share our findings with you through a series of factsheets. Please stay tuned for updates to this page!

Factsheet series

ACIAR Partners Magazine article:

What differentiates this data from existing data?

Government agencies in Vietnam as well as other countries in the region publish data allowing per capita consumption of major food products to be calculated. Some of these studies are based on household surveys designed to gather data to understand changes in standard-of-living and consumption trends. These studies are generally conducted and released in publications by statistical agencies (e.g. General Statistics Office of Vietnam).

Other publically available studies, which provide household-level food consumption data are conducted by government health departments or agencies focused on obtaining household health status and information on food security. In most countries the latter of these studies are not conducted regularly.

An additional source of per capita consumption or utilisation of specific food products is from ‘food balance sheets’ for countries. Food balance sheets typically provide information on the quantity of food available (supplies based on official production and trade estimates) and where the food is utilised, including non-food use, losses from storage and transportation and official trade estimates. Unfortunately, these data sets tend to have issues that affect their usefulness. For example, they may be based on estimates of existing stocks, production, population and officially reported trade data. Furthermore, it does not provide information about purchases and consumption of food-away-from home (FAFH), or information about individual members of the household. The individual level information is important to understand if gender, age, employment etc. affect consumption patterns and diet quality.

Project partners

Collaborating institutions:


Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR Project AGB/2015/029 and ACIAR Project AGB/2012/059)


GFAR researchers involved in this project:

Tagged in Projects:International development, Projects:Food policy, Completed projects