Sep 20, 2021 / 20:29

Mooncake heats up in Hanoi’s supermarket amid pandemic

Supermarkets have cooperated with businesses and distributors to run promotions and discounts during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The 2021 Mid-Autumn Festival this year is unlike previous years, no mooncake stalls are seen on the sidewalks of streets due to strict social distancing in the capital city.

The traditional pastry is sold mainly in supermarkets for safer shopping amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The big day is on Tuesday [September 21], and supermarkets are bustling with many people coming to buy the popular mooncake brands like Kinh Do, Huu Nghi, Bibica, Dong Khanh, Hanoi Confectionery, Madam Thu Huong, and among others.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, mooncakes sold well at this time of year. Not only famous brands, hotels and restaurants have also released mooncakes of their own brands.

 A moon cake kiosk in BigC Thang Long in Hanoi. Photo: Thoi Nguyen

“The mooncakes of restaurants and hotels or bakeries brands diversify offers in the markets and create a quality competition to attract customers,” Tran Ngoc Tu, director of the Food Safety and Hygiene Sub-Departments, told The Hanoi Times.

“In spite of the pandemic mood, customers still want to spend on good products and reputable brands. Therefore, businesses need to constantly innovate and launch good products to retain customers," Tu added.

The price of mooncakes this year is higher than that of previous years. While the price of a box of four moon cakes in most popular confectionery companies ranges from VND250,000 (US$11) to VND500,000 (US$22), similar pastries made by hotels and restaurants cost between VND300,000 (US$13.11) and VND800,000 (US$34.97). Higher-end mooncakes are much more expensive.

Supermarkets in Hanoi have cooperated with businesses and distributors to run promotions and discounts during the Mid-Autumn Festival on various types of cake. Besides selling on-site, supermarkets have offered mooncakes online to ensure the Covid-19 prevention.

Supermarkets and mooncake brands have also offered free shipping and festivals gifts for customers buying the pastry on e-commerce sites like Shopee, Lazada, VinID, and SpeedL.

Hoang Thi Thu Anh, a Hanoian who ordered a box of Madam Huong mooncakes via Shopee, told The Hanoi Times: "I have both free shipping and a 25% promotion from the buyer while I still enjoy a brand I prefer."

The price of mooncakes this year is higher than that of previous years. Photo: Thoi Nguyen

Meanwhile, the Autumn festival is also a chance for housewives and office workers to earn some extra money from homemade products as well. Le Ngoc Huyen, an accountant for a construction company in Hanoi, makes mooncakes to sell in the season.

“I use less sugar and make smaller cakes as I know many people just buy a cake for the sake of celebration rather than eating. They don’t want to spend on a big fancy cake," Huyen said.

As one of the biggest festivities in Vietnam, this time of the year is usually a busy season of mooncake business. However, due to the social distancing order in Hanoi since July 24 and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, sales of mooncake are stagnant. People's incomes have declined, so they only buy essentials and refrain from buying non-fancy items like mooncakes.

“I usually sell mooncakes on this occasion for extra income, this year I have to run a "buy one get one" strategy to attract customers but some just stop to see the price list. The number of moon cake consumers is much fewer than that of previous years,” Khuat Thi Anh, the owner of a grocery shop on Duong Khue Street in Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem District told The Hanoi Times.

Another reason for fewer customers at the retail stalls is because supermarkets have also offered free delivery for customers during the period of social distancing to ensure the pandemic prevention measures.