Sustainability Impacts of Supermarket Growth in Vietnamese Food Supply Chains

Dr Jean-Joseph Cadilhon,
Dr Andrew Fearne,
Dr Muriel Figuié,
Dr Phan Thi Giac Tam,
Dr Paule Moustier,
Dr Nigel Poole
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Supermarkets and other modern distribution outlets are sprouting in the cities of Vietnam to market goods to an emerging middle class. As in other developing countries, the rise of modern distribution outlets has modified the supply chain practices of existing stakeholders, notably in the food marketing channels.

The recent literature on sustainability impact assessments has advocated a comprehensive coverage of all components of sustainability and all stakeholders concerned. However, such comprehensive evaluations are not conducted by Vietnamese policy-makers who currently favour investments into supermarkets while trying to eliminate more poor-friendly food distribution channels.

This paper analyses the growth of the modern distribution sector in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the supply chain innovations they have introduced. It then identifies impacts of supermarket growth on environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability of the different stakeholders in the food marketing system of Vietnamese cities.

The focus of modern distribution on “safe” food produce is likely to have a generally positive impact on environmental sustainability of Vietnamese farming systems. However, the impact on socio-economic sustainability may be more mixed: employment created by supermarkets is limited compared with traditional market places, larger-scale farming structures are preferred as suppliers while many smallholders, petty traders and poor consumers are left out of the modern marketing system. The impact of supermarket growth on cultural sustainability is assessed by comparing stakeholder behaviours in the business-to-business and retailer-to-consumer trading relationships in both modern and traditional supply chains.

Keywords: Supermarkets, Food Supply Chains, Development, Vietnam
Stream: Cultural Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Economic Impact of Supermarket Growth in Vietnamese Food Supply Chains, The

Dr Jean-Joseph Cadilhon

Economic Analyst, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Prospective, French Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Rural Affairs

Dr Andrew Fearne


Dr Muriel Figuié

Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche, Agronomique pour le Développement

Dr Muriel Figuié is sociologist, researcher at Cirad (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement), member of the research unit "Governance and Norms in
Agricultural Markets", and at the moment based in Vietnam as reponsible for the food consumption studies in the franco-vietnamese consortium of research MALICA "Markets and Agriculture Linkages for
Cities in Asia". Her main research interests are related to food behaviours, social representations of food quality and food related risks, in the context of the urbanisation of developing countries.

Dr Phan Thi Giac Tam


Dr Paule Moustier


Dr Nigel Poole

Senior Lecturer, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London - Wye Campus

Nigel Poole gained his PhD from the University of London, UK and is Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London (Wye Campus). His interests are in agrifood market systems organisation and performance in Latin America, the Mediterranean Basin, Africa and Asia, and his research addresses marketing issues in food safety and quality, urban and rural development, and agribusiness and poverty reduction.

Ref: S06P0069