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20 Years of Growth and Responsibility at Annam Gourmet

For twenty years, Annam Gourmet has been a pioneer in implementing a chain of stores that offer high-quality and reputable imported goods in Vietnam.

As such, they are one of the first places Saigon residents think of for international foods and ingredients as well as high-quality local fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. As it expanded, the chain launched several comprehensive sustainability initiatives and services to supplement its reputation of offering the finest imported groceries, cheeses, vegan items and organic produce.

Expanding to Provide a Range of Products

The high-end grocery store was founded in 2002 by French-Vietnamese partners who wanted to celebrate European cuisine in Saigon. It began with a small store on Hồ Tùng Mậu Street that sold a handful of international items for customers longing for tastes from abroad. They were a leader in bringing the world's delicatessen to Vietnam and the demand was clear, with Annam Gourmet growing steadily to its current 15 locations in Saigon and Hanoi.

As new, larger stores opened and international distribution networks evolved alongside increasingly refined domestic logistics, the number of products on offer increased. The variety of high-quality commodities including plant-based foods, organic, lactose-free, sugar-free and gluten-free options and imported meats, cheeses, wines and beverages expanded significantly. Health and beauty products were added as well. Moreover, Annam Gourmet has kept pace with evolving global trends, particularly related to health and diet preferences. Thus, Annam Gourmet now provides a premier selection of the finest items one can find from Vietnam and all around the world.

As part of its mission to sell products that reflect the culture and tradition of their origin country,in 2017 Annam Gourmet established the Annam Central Kitchen. This state-of-the-art Saigon facility crafts an impressive array of European bakery items, as well as fresh deli treats. Perhaps nothing better exemplifies its abilities than the decadent King Cakes that it sells every winter holiday season. These are the perfect compliments to the seasonal Festive Hampers that gather the store’s most cherished snacks, treats and wines for the perfect gifts each year.

Adding Services to Create an Inclusive Culinary Experience

Annam Gourmet strives to serve as more than a mere place to pick up groceries. It fosters relaxing and enjoyable visits via plant-filled patios and chill seating areas where guests can sip wine or coffee and savor freshly baked pastries or full buffet meals from the hot kitchen. The authentic recipes are prepared by experienced chefs with the same fresh and healthy ingredients that shoppers purchase for their homes.

Of course, not everyone has time for a leisurely stay and thus Annam Gourmet has also developed services for busy customers. Freshly-pressed orange juice is always available, while fondue and raclette machines can be rented. Similarly, the bakery and hot food items can be purchased for convenient takeout.

The entire shopping experience is enhanced by Annam Gourmet’s embrace of technology. A Loyalty Program features point redemption activities that allow frequent customers to save and spend points with personalized choice. Meanwhile, partnerships with many digital payment systems as well as convenient ordering and delivering options mean that Annam Gourmet can accommodate all lifestyles.

The Importance of the Human Touch

Providing a world-class grocery experience involves more than simply stocking items. A knowledgeable and friendly staff is essential for creating a warm and welcoming environment. Annam prides itself on having a large and rigorously trained team across all departments. This translates to those at the cheese and deli section not only providing samples with a smile, but also explaining details regarding taste and origins. Similarly, the team members on the sales floor help customers locate everything they are looking for and answer all questions.

The quick and courteous staff attitude extends to those busy behind the scenes as well. Whether they are involved in the kitchen, the bakery or the receiving area, each Annam Gourmet employee prioritizes safe and thoughtful procedures. The result of this store-wide ethos is easy to notice every time one steps through the doors and is greeted with a warm face and helpful guidance.

Striving to Protect the Planet

Annam Gourmet shares the values of many of its customers and recognizes the small and large choices one can make to preserve the planet. Thus, it has not only sought to improve its own policies and procedures to be more environmentally responsible but also empowers customers to do the same.

Given the centrality of shopping bags to the grocery experience, they were a logical place to start. In 2018 Annam Gourmet replaced all plastic shopping bags with Kraft recycling paper and launched a campaign to reimburse customers who brought in their own bags to use or donate. Over 9 million plastic bags have since been reduced and replaced. In 2020, the store took it a step further and introduced reusable bags for customers and later partnered with a local Lulupack sustainable packaging solutions for e-commerce.

Beyond bags, Annam Gourmet facilitates reducing, reusing and recycling of other high-volume materials. In 2021, for example, they introduced the Empty Packaging Rewards program in-store and via their loyalty app. Each location now has bins for battery and bottle recycling. The results are staggering with nearly 15,000 empty glass bottles collected; over 2,500 kilograms of batteries collected and responsibly disposed of and five tons of Nespresso capsule coffee grounds collected. Annam Gourmet has also installed the first ever plastic PET and aluminum bottle processing machines in Vietnam in its retail stores in the end of 2023 to give customers an easy and convenient way to recycle materials that they purchase at the store, or elsewhere.

Environmental stewardship is ultimately a collective concern and Annam Gourmet thus hosts and participates in a variety of community activities. In 2023, for example, the Green Workshop Experience raised awareness for sustainable lifestyles and shopping behaviors while the Plant Trees Save Earth campaign raised funds to plant 1,000 mangrove trees in Sóc Trăng. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to facilitate art exhibitions that promote awareness of environmental issues while craft workshops and a walking fundraiser will introduce sustainability concepts in diverse Saigon communities. 

When one is craving an exotic flavor or wants to be confident in a local fruit’s organic origin, Annam Gourmet has long been the obvious choice. But 20 years of steady growth have allowed it to become much more. From in-house baked goods reflective of traditional European recipes to leading sustainability initiatives, it exemplifies the potential of the high-end grocery industry in Vietnam. That is a cause for celebration and a reason to be excited about the future.

This holiday season, Annam Gourmet is proud to showcase the flavors of King Cake and present the 2024 Gift Collection. This year's collection features a vibrant theme inspired by a lush fruit garden. Vibrant colors embody the warm but also the energy of the Lunar New Year. Take your gift-giving experience to the next level and make this holiday season memorable with Annam Gourmet.