Time to wake up and smell the Coffee

December 31, 2011 | 11:28
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Made-in-Vietnam G7 instant coffee has wormed its way into leading world supermarkets.

After 20 strict quarantine indexes of international quality verification bodies, G7 instant coffee products of Vietnam’s leading coffee firm Trung Nguyen Corporation are in US-based Cosco’s supermarket chain and South Korea-based E-Mart supermarket chain from October 2011.

“We will deliver 100 containers of G7 coffee to Cosco and 15 containers to E-Mart until the year’s end. G7 is Vietnam’s first coffee brand name appeared in Cosco supermarkets which was appreciated by US consumers,” said Nguyen Nguyen, assistant to Trung Nguyen Coffee CEO Board.

Trung Nguyen executives hoped G7’s successful entrance into US and South Korean supermarkets could pave the way for the products to make forays into other foreign markets.

“This [G7 present in big retail supermarket system in the US] could open the way for other made-in-Vietnam instant coffee and other agricultural produce to confidently step into world’s demanding markets,” said Vietnam Coffee-Cocoa Association general secretary Nguyen Viet Vinh.

Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Europe Market Department head Dang Hoang Hai assumed direct linkages between firms and foreign supermarket systems would be a good way to enhance Vietnamese product brand value.

Many agricultural experts assumed G7 experience in breaking into US market would suggest local coffee industry to shift from exporting fine products instead of raw materials. If this can be done, Vietnam’s coffee export value could surge by 10-fold within the next 15 years to $20 billion.

In fact, it took around 10 years for Trung Nguyen coffee products to step into modern US supermarket system after its first products were sold in North American markets.

“Undergoing quality control phase is just the start in the process of bringing products into US supermarkets. What to do after this phase is more important,” said Nguyen.

Vietnam trade office in the US’s minister-counselor Dao Tran Nhan said Vietnamese coffee could make inroads into US supermarkets but big supermarket systems required products to be at more affordable prices and ensured quality.

“Besides, firms should take note that in US market for new products consumers have the right to return products within 90 days if they do not satisfy with them,” Nhan said.

Over 90 per cent of Vietnamese coffee is exported as raw materials through intermediaries. Hence, though being a world leader in coffee export with $2-3 billion in coffee export value each year, consumers around the world know little about Vietnamese coffee.

By Ha Tam


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