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Many solutions for sustainable seafood export

10:04 | 22/09/2022

VCN - Seafood exports this year have grown well and are expected to reach more than US$10 billion. Seafood enterprises are paying attention to deep processing and branding for sustainable export.

Leaders of Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company introduced processed products to enterprises. Photo: T.H
Leaders of Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company introduced processed products to enterprises. Photo: T.H

Increase the proportion of deep processing

Mr. Nguyen Van Dao, General Director of Go Dang Joint Stock Company, said that the targets of revenue, output, turnover and profit of enterprises are now close to pre-pandemic levels. In markets with high living standards such as the EU, the United States, seafood is the preferred choice because of its higher nutritional value than other meat products. Therefore, even if purchasing power is affected by inflation, in the long run, Vietnam's value-added products from catfish are under less competitive pressure with other seafood exporting countries while the selling price is better than traditional products.

Nguyen Ngo Vi Tam, General Director of Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company, said that this year is a year of great success for Vinh Hoan when pangasius exports are quite favorable. The strength of Vietnam's pangasius industry has a production and processing process that has achieved a competitive level with many other types of white fish, ensuring a stable supply and very good selling price. Currently, Vietnam has 44 farming areas certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Vietnam also has the advantage of being a country that has an absolute advantage in exporting pangasius, Vietnam's pangasius output is about 1.5 million tons, accounting for 25% of the total global pangasius production and almost no rival in farming and processing and exporting. Consumers and importers are very interested in the farming and processing process. Pangasius enterprises have made efforts to achieve global certifications, effectively expanding the market.

Besides, many businesses are interested in investing in and expanding the factory, said Mr. Chiem Tran Quoc Cuong, Sales Director, Phat Tien Fisheries Co., Ltd., besides the main product of pangasius fillet, the business is investing to expand two factories processing value-added products. This is a potential segment because at this time, consumers in the US market are tending to choose frozen and deeply processed products instead of fresh products.

In the context of high logistics costs for export enterprises, Mr. Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sao Ta Food Joint Stock Company, offered a solution to choose a near market. Citing shrimp products, Mr. Luc said that a 40-foot container from Vietnam to the United States bears US$20,000 in logistics costs while from Ecuador to the United States is only about US$5,000. Thus, with each container of 15 tons of goods, the partner can reduce the cost of US$15,000, making their shrimp price US$1/kg cheaper than Vietnamese shrimp, Mr. Luc said that shrimp export enterprises must exploit the advantage of logistics costs with the Chinese market - a market next to Vietnam.

Mr. Ho Quoc Luc said that the room to enter the Chinese market is still wide because this is the most populous market in the world and also has a need to import raw materials for export processing. Seafood exporters have to upgrade their products to the Chinese market by themselves because the country is promoting traceability, quality management, and standards of high-end markets such as the EU and the United States.

Building an export brand

Besides deep processing, and increasing the quality of export products, seafood enterprises are paying attention to branding. According to experts, Vietnam is the third largest seafood exporter in the world (after China and Norway) but has not been known to consumers in the world. Vietnam’s seafood is present in more than 160 countries, but the recognition of consumers in the world is still low because seafood products are mainly exported through importers, so Vietnamese products have not yet had the opportunity to convince consumers to recognize that the product is Vietnamese. Therefore, it is time for businesses to build a common brand for the seafood industry.

Talking at the International Seafood Expo at the end of August 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. Le Quoc Vinh, Chairman and General Director of Le Group, said that building a brand for the seafood industry will help the industry in the future open new markets, product development; Importers also want to import goods because the products are loved by consumers.

Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Secretary General of VASEP, said that according to the strategy of developing Vietnam's seafood approved by the Prime Minister in 2021, the common goal by 2030 has the criteria of building a prestigious brand, international competitiveness and integration. In the current context, branding is one of the contents that many seafood businesses are interested in because branding will help transform the image of the seafood industry in the eyes of international consumers, improve product value, and develop export markets.

Vietnamese seafood also has a few major brands that have been recognized by customers and will actively contribute to the branding of the whole seafood industry in Vietnam.

As one of the major pangasius exporters in the Mekong Delta, Ms. Nguyen Ngo Vi Tam, General Director of Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company, said that Vinh Hoan’s pangasius export market is quite large with a turnover increasing every year. Vinh Hoan has gradually built its brand by enhancing the value of each stage.

Recently, the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia informed that in the context that Vietnamese shrimp is highly appreciated by the Australian market for quality; this is the best time to build a brand of Vietnamese shrimp associated with the brand of Vietnamese exporters.

Interested Vietnamese shrimp exporters can register to participate in the program to build a Vietnamese shrimp brand in Australia. The program includes the following activities: Promote the business brand at the actual exhibition in Australia in combination with the booth on the digital exhibition, invite to try products, put the business's brand in promotional publications, communicate in Australia and make trade connections.

Although the corporate brand has been recognized in some markets, Ms. Nguyen Ngo Vi Tam believes that there should be a common marketing strategy for the whole industry and each item. The ultimate goal of branding is to make customers accept to pay a higher price for the product and become loyal customers, not to sell a lot of products at a cheap price.

For the pangasius industry, Vietnam is the country that holds the absolute advantage in exporting this staple product. Vietnam's pangasius production is about 1.5 million tons, accounting for 25% of the total global pangasius production, but Vietnam's pangasius exports account for more than 95%, so there is no competitor of this type of seafood. Vietnamese enterprises rising, processing and exporting pangasius are very successful and need to build a brand name to increase the value of this item.

By Lê Thu/Bui Diep