Vietnamese bananas hit shelves of Lotte Mart in RoK hinh anh 1Vietnamese bananas being sold at Lotte supermarkets are introduced at an event in Seoul on June 16 (Photo: VNA)

Seoul (VNA) - Vietnamese bananas have hit the shelves of Lotte Mart in the Republic of Korea (RoK) - the first time the fruit has been distributed in the country via a large supermarket chain.

Lotte Mart and the Vietnamese Embassy organised an event in Seoul on June 16 to introduce Vietnamese bananas being sold at Lotte supermarkets across the RoK.

The fruit has been exported to the RoK since 2014 but only on a trial basis to gauge market response, and hasn’t been present at major retailers like Lotte Mart.

Exports of Vietnamese bananas to the RoK have been on the rise in recent years, from about 180 tonnes worth 132,000 USD in 2015 to 6,685 tonnes worth 4.2 million USD in 2019.

The growth is attributed to active coordination between Vietnamese enterprises, South Korean partners, and Vietnam’s trade office in the RoK to improve varieties of bananas along with farming, harvesting, preservation, and packaging processes to meet consumer demand.

The bananas sold in Lotte supermarkets, LOPANG BANANA, are grown in the highlands area of Lo Pang commune in Mang Yang district, the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. It has a thick skin and double the sweetness compared to other types.

Lotte Mart is expected to import about 1,600 tonnes of LOPANG BANANA each year for sale at 81 hypermarkets in the RoK.

The RoK imports more than 300 million USD worth of bananas annually. Almost all bananas sold in the country are imported, as it lacks the necessary farming conditions. Given this, Vietnamese bananas are believed to have much room to expand market share in the country.

The Vietnamese Embassy is set to continue working closely with Lotte Mart and other distributors to boost banana exports to the market in the time to come.

The Philippines is currently the largest banana exporter to the RoK, with a market share of 78.6 percent, followed by Ecuador (7.7 percent), Guatemala (5.2 percent), Peru (5 percent), Mexico (1.6 percent), and Vietnam (1.4 percent)./.