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This article describes the development of vegetable marketing in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), where modern distribution outlets are competing fiercely with traditional traders for wholesale and retail customers. Data from interviews with supply chain stakeholders and a survey of vegetable wholesalers have been used to compare the performance of modern and traditional chains, and the findings reveal the chains as segmented in their product focus, the modern sector focusing exclusively on quality. Modern marketing channels are generally more efficient than traditional ones but still account for only around 2% of vegetable distribution. The article argues that policy-makers should not promote the ‘modernisation’ of food systems at the expense of traditional channels which meet important consumer needs.