Liquid Sugar a Hot Item in Viet Nam

Photo by MAA

Every time I pull into the parking lot of Mega Market in Hanoi, I let out a groan, after seeing a wall of plastic-covered red, thousands of liters of Coca-Cola waiting to be shelved and purchased by thirsty customers looking for their next sugar fix.

In case you’re wondering and even if you’re not, each 12 oz can contains 39 grams of the stuff, according to the horse’s mouth. (Confession: Many years ago, I occasionally drank one can in the afternoon to boost my energy level. Coke also contains 8 mg of caffeine. I now limit my caffeine intake to cappuccinos.)

So, how well is Coke doing in Viet Nam? In 2020, the country’s beverage market was dominated by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in 2020 with about 64% of market share, followed by domestic companies like Tan Hiep Phat Beverage Group. Suntory PepsiCo Vietnam recorded 2019 revenue of $796 million USD, a one-year increase of $100 million USD, while Coca-Cola earned $404 million USD, and Tan Hiep Phat $400 million USD with its herbal teas, green teas, sport drinks, energy drinks, soya milk, and purified water.

Vietnamese drink A LOT of Coke and other soft drinks. This year, the average volume per person in the soft drinks segment is expected to be 55.02 L. In fact, they drink so much that there should be warning labels on the bottles and cans. As doctors are quick to point out, health risks associated with consuming soft drinks like Coke come from its added sugar, which floods your body with fructose. Think of sugar as a legal drug because of its addictive nature.

Just one or two colas a day could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, which is becoming a major health problem in Viet Nam. It’s estimated that one in 20 adults has diabetes. High sugar intake also contributes to high blood pressure, cholesterol, and fat, all of which heighten the risk of heart disease. There is also a connection between sugary drinks and a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. This article lists the adverse effects of drinking liquid sugar on your health, including digestive diseases and tooth decay.

Things do not go better with Coke. (This is a variation of a very old advertising slogan from 1963.)

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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