A population of over 90 million and rapid development of its food processing, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries mean Vietnam offers huge opportunities for packaging manufacturers all over the world, experts said.

"Packaging, like other industries in Vietnam, is developing strongly and modernising," said Tran Viet Dung, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Exhibition Service which organised the International Processing, Filling and Packaging Exhibition and Conference (Propak 2014) in Ho Chi Minh City recently.

"Many recent foreign direct investment projects are in the fields of food processing, beverages, cosmetics, and medicines, offering much opportunity for the industry."

Quoting a figure from the Vietnam Plastic Association, he said the domestic plastic packaging industry was growing at an average annual rate of over 25 percent. HCM City alone had around 10,000 manufacturers.

According to industry executives who took part in Propak 2014, Vietnam is one of the top 10 packaged food markets in all of Asia.

At a conference organised during the exhibition, Vera Fritsche, market and exhibitions manager, packaging machinery, food processing machinery at the German Engineering Federation, said the Vietnamese packaging industry was poised to further develop and listed many reasons for it.

"The country has a fast growing food and beverage industry and is a big exporter of foodstuff," she said.

Demand for processed and packaged food would continue to rise because of the ongoing urbanisation, a young and growing population, increasing incomes, and modern retail structures, she said, adding that increasing demand for hygienically produced food of high quality was another reason.

Tunyarut Junkarn, head of the Department of food packaging at Thailand's Kasetsart University agreed with her, saying "there is still room for the Vietnamese packaging industry to grow."

Seeing the potential, nearly 500 companies from 28 nations and territories have come to the exhibition looking for business opportunities.-VNA