A seminar titled “New markets for folk cakes” was held at the Can Tho Promotion Agency (CPA) this morning as part of the eighth Southern Folk Cakes Festival.
Tran Minh Hung, editor-in-chief of the Saigon Times Group, speaks at the seminar - PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH
Tran Minh Hung, editor-in-chief of the Saigon Times Group, which co-organized the seminar with CPA, said large numbers of people have visited the eighth Southern Folk Cakes Festival, proving the attractiveness and high demand of folk cakes.
However, traditional cakes are mainly handmade with temporary wrappings and without preservatives, so they could not be stored for a long time. This kind of perishable food can hardly find its way to supermarkets and foreign markets.
Therefore, the seminar was intended to explore ways to find markets for traditional cakes, preserve the tradition of cake making, and improve incomes of cake artisans.
According to Doan Huu Duc, vice president and general director of Vietnam Consulting Group, folk cakes are a vital part of Vietnamese street food and an attractive feature of local tourism.
However, there are many obstacles to bringing traditional cakes to supermarkets, luxury hotels or foreign markets.
The first obstacle for local cake makers, artisans and household businesses involves food safety, traceability, quality control certificate, business license and tax code. The second obstacle is about quality and quantity commitments.
Speaking about ways for folk cakes to access more markets, Vu Thong Nhat, vice chairman of the Association of Can Tho Writers, said local authorities should identify, evaluate and select some key products and support makers of these products to build brands and look for markets. The media also plays a key role in promoting folk cakes.
Nguyen Kim Cuong, deputy director of Co.opmart Can Tho supermarket, said folk cakes are delicious, eye-catching, and attractive to local and foreign tourists.
“We are selling many types of folk cakes such as banh bo, banh da lon, banh bot bang, banh gai, together with traditional sticky rice and sweet soup. Made from clean materials and meeting food safety standards, they have won the hearts of many customers,” Cuong said.
According to Cuong, there should be more events that promote not only the freshness and wonderful taste of folk cakes but also the skills, experiences and enthusiasm of cake makers.
Wrapping up the seminar, Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Can Tho City, said traditional markets, convenience stores, supermarkets and hotels are the current main markets for makers of folk cakes.
Some types of folk cakes have been shipped to foreign markets but they are mainly dried cakes that can be stored for a longer time, such as banh trang Sa Dec (rice paper from Sa Dec).
To help folk cakes gain access to more markets, especially abroad, local cake makers and traders should pay more attention to food safety, healthy ingredients, human resources, brand building and marketing.