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Sep 28, 2023 / 14:47

Mooncake market: Vast selection, low sales

Despite the variety of designs and flavors on shelves, sales of this year's moon cakes have been low.

With one day to go before the Mid-Autumn Festival (September 29), the various mooncake offerings in the market are still suffering from low sales, although demand for mooncakes for personal consumption and as gifts for loved ones usually picks up at this time in other years.

Low sales

According to Tran Khanh Duong, a mooncake vendor in Hanoi's Hai Ba Trung district, most shops open their counters at least a month before Full Moon Day, but sales are quite slow.

"The effects of Covid-19 are still lingering, so we do not have many big orders from companies. People are reluctant to spend, and market purchases have not yet recovered as expected. Customers often choose traditional cakes as gifts for their loved ones or themselves, only 1-2 boxes," he said.

 Hotels introduce new mooncake collections. Photo: Hoai Nam/The Hanoi Times

Many people prefer homemade cakes over mass-produced cakes because they are cheaper and taste better, according to some.

However, there are also high-end handmade mooncakes with fancy packaging. The prices of these mooncakes are around VND30,000 - 60,000 /piece (US$1.3-2.6).

However, customers are advised to be careful with handmade cakes, especially those sold online. Some bakeries are unable to show documents proving the safety and origin of their mooncakes when asked.

The quality of homemade cakes is uncertain and not guaranteed by a reputable company. Consumers should choose a reputable place to buy; otherwise, they will purchase poor-quality cake and face the risk of food poisoning.

Luxury mooncakes

Hotels in Hanoi are releasing various mooncake collections with eye-catching designs and packaging.

Muong Thanh Hospitality's mooncake collection is inspired by the culture of the Tay ethnic minority.

Faithful to its tradition of preserving and honoring the quintessential Vietnamese traditional values, Muong Thanh Hospitality presents packaging inspired by the gathering of poets in ancient times to enjoy the moonlight and recite poems. With the moon embossed on the box, Muong Thanh introduces an extremely unique traditional folk festival - Nang Hai Festival (The Moon Lady), a long-standing traditional festival of the Tay ethnic group in Cao Bang Province, which has been recognized as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Mooncake Box depicts The Moon Lady in traditional Tay dress, holding the dan tinh (traditional Tay gourd lute) and playing songs under the moonlight.

 Mooncake collection of Lotte Hanoi Hotel.

Meanwhile, Lotte Hotel Hanoi offers The Moonlight, The Starlight, The New Moon, The Full Moon, The Eclipse and The Miracles with four or six cakes in a box and a bottle of wine included.

Pan Pacific Hanoi Hotel lives up to its 25-year mooncake legacy with the 2023 Mooncake Collection, which tells a special story through exquisite packaging and delicious mooncakes.

Presented in mossy green motifs, the Mooncake Collection features a stunning design of West Lake Lotus Pond, a destination rich in heritage.

Infused with the creativity of chefs and the finest ingredients, the collection offers a delightful twist on six enticing flavors: Black tea with salted yolk, Green beans with salted yolk, Melon with salted yolk, Chocolate with cream cheese, Jambon with salted yolk, Lotus with salted yolk.

 Pan Pacific Hanoi Hotel introduces a mooncake collection inspired by lotus and West Lake.

Meanwhile, the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel's 2023 Mooncake Collection, inspired by the traditional  Hang Trong woodblock painting in Hanoi's Old Quarter - Carps Gazing at the Mid-Autumn Moon, depicts a pair of carps chasing the brilliant reflection of the full moon on the surface of the water.

The collection sports six baked mooncake flavors: Green tea, lotus seed and dried apricot; raspberry and pumpkin seed; traditional mixed nut mooncake; mung bean, chia seed and salted egg yolk; oolong tea and salted egg yolk; and lotus seed, walnut and salted egg yolk.

Ensuring food safety

According to the Hanoi Market Surveillance Department, many bakeries take advantage of the increased demand during the Mid-Autumn Festival to either produce or smuggle mooncakes of inferior quality and unknown origin.

 Sheraton Hotel's mooncake collection.

To ensure food safety during the peak mid-autumn season, Chu Xuan Kien, director of Hanoi's Market Surveillance Department, said the market watchdog will step up inspections, focusing on mooncake products, mooncake raw materials, and mooncake packaging to detect poor-quality products in time.

According to Kien, the force will focus on inspecting mooncake craft villages in Bac Tu Liem, Hoai Duc, and Thanh Tri districts and hotels and restaurants that produce and sell mooncakes.

Hanoi's Department of Industry and Trade has also issued a plan to ensure food safety for the city's Mid-Autumn Festival in 2023.

 People buy mooncakes on Thanh Nien Road. Photo: Hoai Nam/The Hanoi Times

Tran Thi Phuong Lan, acting director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, said the inspection will focus on businesses and importers of mooncakes and mooncake ingredients.

Compliance with the law on e-commerce is also a subject of inspection for online trading of mooncakes.

The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade has urged districts and cities to deal firmly with food and mooncake businesses that do not set up stalls in the right places, fail to ensure food safety and violate social security.

Tran Thi Phuong Lan advised people to raise awareness and comply with regulations on food hygiene and safety in producing and trading essential foods for the Mid-Autumn Festival and carefully use confectionery and food products with clear origins.