The International Festival of Natural Products and Functional Foods will be held in Vietnam for the first time from September 27-29.

Organisers, including Vietnam Functional Food Association (VAFF), the ASEAN Alliance of Health Supplement Associations (AAHSA) and the Asia Trade Fair and Business Promotion Joint Stock Company, announced the event at a press conference in Hanoi on July 2.

As many as 100 producers, traders, and distributors will showcase their products in 300 kiosks ranging from food supplements to medicines tailored for the elderly, children, and pregnant.

On display will be supplement and functional foods which strengthen the immune system like milk, grains, tea and pep drinking and healthcare equipment.

VAFF President Tran Dang said that the festival will help businesses introduce their best-sellers and meet directly with a wider range of consumers.

With its emphasis on natural ingredients, food supplements aim to improve general health and immune system resistance and prevent non-infectious illnesses including heart disease, hypertension, and cancer.

On the sideline of the festival, two workshops titled “Developing plant medicines for functional food production in Vietnam” and “Functional food development strategy from 2013 to 2020 and vision to 2030” will also be held.

Functional foods have been available in Vietnam over the last ten years. Around 6 percent of the population reported using supplements regularly, with 43 percent of them living in urban areas.

The nation is becoming a target market of famous foreign functional food producers (more than 5,500 kinds of supplements). The number of domestic enterprises and businesses are surging fast as well. However, public awareness of functional foods remains limited while so many trademarks are here, thus creating challenges and problems for local people.-VNA