May 13, 2017
Arduous journey to European market of Vietnamese enterprises

This is the English version translated by Ban Me Gold.

Mrs. Ho Thanh Loan, CEO of Ban Me Gold company, feels very excited when her company’s booth at Tuttofood 2017, Europe’s largest food fair in Milan, Italy, always has customers try coffee and inquire about the products.

Besides the organisers’ exchange meetings, the booth also regularly welcomes visitors passing by, stopping when they smell the fragrant Vietnamese coffee and wish to enjoy the coffee. Many of them sat down with Mrs. Loan to learn about the product before deciding to sign economic contracts.

“There have been some customers asking questions about signing contracts, others saying they will communicate via email,” she told the TTXVN reporter at the fair.

“A lot of people compliment that Vietnamese coffee is delicious. I feel very confident with the quality of Vietnamese coffee,” Mrs. Loan said.

For Ban Me Gold, this is the first time this company has attended an international fair. The big challenge for businesses in the production and distribution of these coffee products is that the Italian market in particular and Europe in general is a very connoisseur, fastidious and requires many different standards, especially for exported products.

Although importing a lot of Vietnamese coffee in raw beans, the Italian market is always a big challenge for businesses.

Ban Me Gold is one of six Vietnamese enterprises participating in Tuttofood 2017. This is the first time Vietnamese businesses participate in the B2B fair (business to business), with the participation of products of nearly 3,000 businesses in this field.
Not open to consumers, Tuttofood, held every two years, only welcomes representatives of companies specialising in importing and distributing food from the EU and the world to exchange and find partners and economic contracts in the food sectors, from frozen foods, dairy, meat, sweet and nutritious products, seafood, beverages to vegetables, bread, organic foods, cooking oils and Noodles.

During the 4 days of the event, from May 8 to 11, Tuttofood 2017 welcomed more than 80,000 visitors, representatives of businesses or experts in the food business from 141 countries worldwide, of which nearly one half from non-EU countries.
A series of new customers from China, India, Africa and representatives from major markets such as the US, France, Russia, India, Gulf countries, South America and Mexico are also looking for partners. More than 30,000 meetings between businesses and potential customers took place within the framework of Tuttofood 2017.

Through the arrangement of Fieramilano, the Organizing Committee of Tuttofood 2017, Vietnamese businesses have had dozens of meetings and exchanges with potential partners, not to mention other meetings on the sidelines of the fair.
The potential to penetrate and explore the Italian and European markets, particularly for Vietnam’s agricultural products is huge, especially with traditional products such as coffee, pepper, cashew nuts, and new products like dragon fruit, which are sold very expensively here, however, the number of Vietnamese enterprises registering to participate in the fair is too small.

According to the representative at Tuttofood of the Italian-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce (ICHAM), the Italian trade agency and the organiser for Vietnamese businesses to come to this fair, within 6 months before Tuttofood, ICHAM has contacted more than 100 large and small food businesses in the country, but only 6 agreed to participate.

“In previous years, Vietnamese enterprises were also present at Tuttofood Fair, but as a customer looking for partners to import into the Vietnamese market. This is the first time they have exhibited products to find partners to export to the world,” said Pham Hoang Nam, ICHAM’s representative at Tuttofood 2017.

“However, businesses are not interested in the event, mainly because they are hesitant to find their way to the world market and even hesitate to register for this fair because the cost is too high,” said Mr. Nam.
In fact, Fieramilano has provided a lot of support for businesses attending the fair, but shyness still prevails, so the Vietnamese booths at Tuttofood are not only among many bold local other national booths but also became blurred and difficult to identify among the sea of flags.

Looking for import and distribution partners in the European market is always difficult for small and medium enterprises that are just starting to find their way abroad. According to Mr. Nam, in addition to the lack of information and the fear of spending large amounts of money to attend the fairs, there is also a dominant tendency for many businesses to rely on the State’s support in making business compete in the large playground.
Therefore, besides Vinamilk, the large corporation is well-known globally, other businesses come to Tuttofood, from coffee trading such as Ban Me Gold to dried and special fruits businesses as a dragon fruit exporter like Levite, is considered an act of courage.

Mrs. Ho Thanh Loan, CEO of Ban Me Gold coffee company, evaluated that attending a large international fair like Tuttofood for the first time was very successful. According to Mrs. Loan, the possibility to sign contracts to export coffee to foreign markets is very high after a series of contacts were made during the fair.


Trương Anh Ngọc
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