Confectionery production will see the highest growth in the food industry, Vu Quang Hung, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Institute for Industry and Strategy Policies, has said.

Speaking at a recent conference discussing the development of the food sector by 2020 held in Hanoi last week, Hung said the industry had a relatively high growth rate of 17 percent in the 2006-10 period.

The food industry has become one of the most attractive sectors with a strong growth rate and high consumption, he said.

The sector reported a production value of 17 trillion VND (809.5 million USD) in 2011 compared to 6 trillion VND (285.7 million USD) in 2005.

In the sector, confectionery production saw the highest growth rate at 35 percent, glutamate10 percent and instant noodles 10 percent.

Hung added that the food industry is targeting a 14 percent export growth rate in 2020, bringing revenues to around 1 billion USD by 2030.

In addition, he said remarkable changes have occurred in the industry, with confectionary production rising to account for 40 percent of total production in 2011, replacing instant noodles with 30 percent, dropping from its dominant 40 percent in 2005.

The number of confectionery businesses also rapidly increased from 182 in 2005 to 324 in 2011.

However, he said confectionery consumption in Vietnam was 1.9 kilos per person a year, which was much lower than the world's yearly average level of 2.4 kilos per person.

In addition, the sector's competitive ability is mainly in domestic market while its exports are limited. For example, glutamate export totalled only 100 million USD last year, which was much lower than its potential.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said the sector's technology and human resource quality was lower than in other countries.

Thoa said global economic fluctuations made food quality, safety, and hygiene standards all the more important to the sector’s development.-VNA