The key to overcoming barriers and expanding markets for F&B businesses

VCN - In the context of the new situation, there are many points that businesses need to pay attention to and prepare to be able to overcome barriers and meet the requirements of the import market.
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French customers choose to buy Vietnamese Rice at the supermarket. Photo: TL
French customers choose to buy Vietnamese Rice at the supermarket. Photo: TL

Great potential

At the forum "Breaking barriers, expanding the F&B market" (Food and Beverage) organized by Saigon Economic Magazine last weekend, Ms. Nguyen Thao Hien, Deputy Director of the Market Department Europe - America, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that in 2023, while many of Vietnam's key export industries such as textiles and garments, footwear, wooden furniture, and seafood all decline, the food industry will still remain intact. maintain a growth rate equal to 2022, reaching a turnover of 37-38 billion USD. Vietnam continues to be the leading supplier of a number of products in major markets such as the US and EU. Typically for rice, Vietnam is the 6th largest foreign supplier to the EU, 7th largest to the US; Vietnam also ranks first in cashew supply in both the US and EU; With coffee, Vietnam is the 2nd largest supplier in the EU and the 10th largest supplier in the US... However, Vietnam's market share of these products in the US and EU currently only ranges from 2-4% market share. This shows that the remaining space is still very large.

Through monitoring, Ms. Hien said that Vietnam's export turnover of these products to the above markets is increasing. For example, in the EU market, according to statistics from the European Statistics Agency (Eurostat), the import growth of food, food and beverage products from Vietnam has an average growth rate of 8.2% during the period. 2017-2022. While the average increase in non-EU countries is only 5.6%. And in the US, statistics from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) show that in the first 10 months of 2023, rice imports from Vietnam increased by 40.5%, coffee increased by 13% compared to the same period of 2022.

Another bright point raised by Ms. Hien is that Vietnamese food products have gradually become branded in supermarket systems in the EU and the US. For example, Loc Troi rice with the Vietnamese Rice brand is already present on French supermarket shelves, recently there are also spice products from DH Food, Cholimex... "Although these brands are still very new in the markets internationally, but this also shows that Vietnamese products have both market space and the ability to develop their own brands abroad" - Ms. Hien emphasized.

Commenting on 2024, Mr. Nguyen Dang Hien, Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Food Association, Chairman of the Board of Members and General Director of Tan Quang Minh Production and Trading Co., Ltd. (Bidrico) pointed out two great advantages for businesses. Enterprises in the food industry. The first is Decision 300/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister dated March 28, 2023 approving the National Action Plan to transform a transparent, responsible and sustainable food system in Vietnam by the year 2023. 2030. "This is a guideline for businesses in the coming time, helping businesses orient their development strategies" - Mr. Hien said. The second advantage is Resolution 98/2023/QH15 on piloting specific mechanisms and policies to develop Ho Chi Minh City, which will be a great support for businesses in Ho Chi Minh City.

Many points to note

Despite many potentials and advantages, businesses in the food industry are also facing many challenges. According to Mr. Hien, businesses need to pay attention to the trend of green transformation, green products, and green consumption. "For businesses, cost is the most difficult issue in green transformation, especially small and medium-sized businesses, so businesses must "improvise" and adapt to their own conditions." – Mr. Hien recommended.

Regarding this issue, Ms. Nguyen Thao Hien admitted that the path to sustainable development and energy conversion to meet sustainable standards is a long and expensive journey. Faced with limitations in capacity and business scale, Ms. Hien said that technology will be the key to helping businesses develop dramatically and go faster to keep up with current trends. "Without technology, businesses will not be able to ensure uniformity in the production process for each product and will not be able to implement ultimate traceability as required by major export markets" - Ms. Hien emphasized.

From the perspective of a certification unit, Mr. Dang Bui Khue, Sustainable Development Standards Expert, Training Director of Bureau Veritas Vietnam said, in the process of supporting and interacting with customers, especially For small and medium-sized enterprises, he found that businesses' access to information is still limited. Typically, the European anti-deforestation regulations (EUDR) will take effect from June 2023, but many businesses still do not understand. Even with Farm to Fork, which are programs and action plans with a gradual roadmap, updating will take a long time, requiring great effort from businesses. Therefore, there are many problems and skills businesses need to improve further to be able to respond. Typically, in terms of foreign language skills, many small and medium-sized enterprises will have difficulty with the declaration form of the EU's carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) with 262 pages in English, including many technical words.

From the experience of successfully conquering many difficult markets with its own brand, Mr. Nguyen Quang Tri, Marketing Director of Vinamilk shared, Vinamilk's formula for success is made up of 3 factors: quality, price and service. In terms of quality, Vinamilk always aims for the highest possible standards. However, these certificates and standards are just passports to enter the markets. It is important that the taste of the product must match the consumer tastes of the host country.

“Vinamilk has an R&D department, a consumer research department in the importing country to know their tastes. Like China likes the taste of durian so the company produced durian-flavored condensed milk product Ong Tho, the Japanese market prefers products derived from plants so the company created coconut milk..." - Mr. Tri share.

In addition, the company also develops after-sales services in the international market, to not only sell products but also monitor tastes and feedback from customers... In addition, with strict requirements on development sustainable development, the company determines that this is an inevitable path and a condition for Vinamilk to continue to reach out in the international market. Accordingly, in 2023, Vinamilk's exports will still record growth of 4.6%, cumulative turnover in 20 years from 2003-2023 will reach 3.2 billion USD.

By Nguyen Hien/ Huu Tuc

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