Retail giant Aeon Co. plans to purchase $1 billion worth of products from Vietnam in 2025, with the nation seen as having great potential as a supplier of quality food for Japanese consumers.

The company will double the value of products it procures from Vietnam from the current level to $500 million in 2020, and expand that twofold over the following five-year period, a senior Aeon official told a meeting of its suppliers in Hanoi on Wednesday.

The total value of Vietnamese goods imported for sale at Aeon outlets in Japan rose 7.6 percent in 2018 from the previous year to $245 million (¥26.5 billion), with clothing accounting for 55 percent of the total.

"Food has room to grow further," said Eiji Shibata, executive officer and chief merchandising and logistics officer at the Japanese retailer. He noted that Aeon group's food sales make up about 70 percent of the total in Japan.

"For example, we could ship organic vegetables from Vietnam with the help of cutting-edge refrigeration technology," he said.

Aeon, which is based in the city of Chiba, held the annual meeting for the second consecutive year in Vietnam after meeting previously in China, Japan and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, according to the company.

About 240 suppliers to Aeon Vietnam Co., its local store operator, and Aeon Topvalu Vietnam Co., a product development and procurement arm established in 2016, gathered for the Hanoi meeting.

Amid the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute, the Aeon group understands the value of Vietnam as a strategic base, Shibata said.