Assortment of moon-cakes flood markets

A month and a half before the Mid-Autumn Festival, moon-cake manufacturers had announced that they would increase the quantity of moon-cakes by 10-20 percent and price them 5-20 percent higher than last year, however, with more variety in taste and design.

There are said to be around 250 different varieties of moon-cakes in the market--the most popular being those stuffed with mung beans and lotus seeds, and more varieties being added with almonds, green tea, gac fruit, pandan leaves and aloe vera. In addition, manufacturers also made nutritious moon-cakes with low fat, low sugar and more natural and healthy ingredients like fruits and nuts.

This year, Bibica has produced around 525 tons of moon-cakes, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year, with more than 50 different kinds of flavors like mung bean collagen, spirulina seaweed, and bird’s nest with lotus seeds. Bibica also aims to serve various market segments by offering an average price of VND33,000-72,000 per cake.

Kinh Do Group has also produced 2,100 tons of moon-cakes, targeting customers who buy moon-cakes to savor or to give to their relatives, especially to their business partners. High-end moon-cakes are priced from VND290,000-750,000 for four-pieces, while some special moon-cakes have been priced upto VND1.2 million per box.

This year, super-luxury moon-cakes have started to appear in the market. Super-luxury moon-cakes are covered with pure gold and are being made Dai Phat for nearly VND1.3 million a box. Although super-luxury moon-cakes named Long Dinh An Quy, produced by Hanoi-based moon-cake producer Long Dinh are stuffed with familiar flavors such as green tea, lotus seeds, mung beans, seaweed, red beans, taros, chestnut, pandan leaves, and almonds, its price is nearly VND4.5 million for eight-pieces in a  box that itself is made of wood and beautifully designed. Moreover, besides eight pieces of moon-cakes, a Long Dinh An Quy moon-cake box also includes a bottle of wine and high-quality tea.

Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant in Legend Saigon Hotel, Shang Palace, Sheraton Saigon Hotel, and Dynasty Restaurant at the New World Hotel have also presented their own high-end moon-cakes.

However, it is difficult to determine whether the moon-cake quality matches its price and it is harder to know whether it is more delicious and nourishing than normal moon-cakes.

For a moon-cake box priced above VND1 million, the discount allowance, advertising and other promotions cost more than 50 percent of its retail price. The net weight of an expensive moon-cake box is around 800 grams to 960 grams, of which flour, sugar, salted eggs account for 400 grams and the rest are ingredients such as mung beans, watermelon seeds, sesame, sugar-preserved winter-melon, and Chinese sausage, mixed with precious ingredients such as caterpillar fungus, ginseng, bird’s nest, fin, caviar, Beijing abalone, red frog crab, and Hong Kong scallop.

Moon-cake producers have never revealed the actual proportions and secret ingredients in each moon-cake. Some people even think that producers only use aromatic spices instead of exotic ingredients for stuffing as these are always well-ground and blended. Accordingly, customers have to pay much more money for the container and packaging, as the actual moon-cakes just accounts for 20-25 percent of selling price.

By N.Ha, N.Thao – Translated by Thuy Doan

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