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Viet Nam should build food branding strategy

Update: October, 28/2015 - 08:06

"The food sector has been given priority to improve its added value and promote exports in the upcoming time," Hai told a seminar. — Photo zing.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam should build a specific roadmap on food branding as food has been the sector with huge potential, Do Thang Hai, deputy minister of Industry and Trade said.

"The food sector has been given priority to improve its added value and promote exports in the upcoming time," Hai told a seminar on "Viet Nam's National Strategy on Food Branding" in Ha Noi yesterday.

He said the programme to build a national brand for the food sector was started in 2014 with an aim to help associations, trade promotion agencies and businesses build a common image for the sector in the global market.

In addition, the programme would better position Viet Nam's food sector, as well as build prestige on quality and value for sustainable development. However, the deputy minister said the branding and marketing for the sector had certain shortcomings. With low added value, the sector's exports had not seen high profits, and food products had not gained a firm foothold in both domestic and foreign markets.

Sharing the ideas, Julian Lawson, expert from the centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) said food branding would bring better prices for farmers, sustainable production and greater economic security.

"Vietnamese food is very different from other cuisine. It has an authentic taste and tastes very good," he said.

However, he said, Viet Nam had a poor reputation with regard to chemicals, low quality food and pesticides that needed to change.

He believed that Vietnamese enterprises should adopt a strategy to build a brand for their products such as clarifying target objectives, consumption trends and demands, as well as rivals and meaning of logos. These could help the country join the big market in the European Union with high value.

He also suggested that businesses should replace their machines and equipment with modern technologies to reduce material waste and ensuring food safety.

"Market research should be expanded while diversifying products to suit customers' tastes in each market," he said, and added that building brands should be linked to complete distribution channels.

Nguyen Thi Anh Hong, vice chairwoman of Viet Nam Tea Association, also mentioned a reality that Vietnamese tea had a special taste. The local tea products had been exported to 70 countries. However, the annual export value was only US$300 million though up to 80 per cent of tea was exported to foreign markets.

"Vietnamese tea does not have a brand and suffers from a bad reputation relating to antibiotic residues," Hong said.

She said Vietnamese rivals such as Sri Lanka, India and Kenya have paid more attention to building brands and improving product quality.

"If Viet Nam does not have a strong strategy for branding, several food products would lose their market share," she added.

Le Thi Bich Thu, deputy head of Processing and Preservation of Agricultural Products Division under the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salts Production, said several of Viet Nam's agricultural products such as cashew, pepper, rice and coffee have held leading positions in the world market. However, their export value was low due to raw material exports.

Thu said the building of material plantations faced difficulties due to investment shortage in infrastructure, and processing technology.

Nguyen Trung Kien, sales director of Nafoods Group said several Vietnamese businesses were not very clear in their understanding of production, processing and markets though the country had deeply integrated into the world market. — VNS

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