Fresh studio offers seafood container inspection service to an airline company

There are many different types of seafood and just as many supply chains. In this context, meeting product specifications for each market end can be a real headache for customers. As part of our inspection service offer, we have been responsible for assuring the integrity of the seafood purchased by a renowned airline for more than 4 years. The seafood we inspect is produced in the heart of the Mekong Delta and served to thousands of passengers every year across the world.

One of our best customers is a leading international airline. As part of the high standard of its services, their catering department works in close collaboration with suppliers to offer a product that meets the particular specifications required for air travel in order to ensure that it provides an enjoyable moment to every passenger.

Over the past few years, Pangasius has been chosen as a main ingredient of their menu. Sourced from the heart of the Mekong Delta, many actors take part in producing and delivering the end-product served on-board. At Fresh Studio, we are one of the final links in this supply chain, making sure the strict product specifications of our client are met.

Based on the shipment forecast provided by the customer, our team of experienced inspectors arrange each inspection directly at the factory. Because the stakes are high, we work in close collaboration with our customer to make sure procedures are clear, not allowing any room for interpretation. In addition, random sampling together with clear AQL (Acceptance Quality Limits) is applied for all inspection criteria fixed by our client.

Like most third-party inspectors, we search for critical defects that may deceive the consumer or cause the whole shipment to be rejected at the border. These include fraudulent quantity and dimensions, overglazing, microbiological hazards and faulty packaging information.

More than just providing inspection service, we also support our client to deliver a menu comprised of quality food products that can bring enjoyment to its customers. For this, we conduct simple but essential sensory testing to provide feedback about the texture, smell, appearance and taste of the product.

Finally, all results of the inspections we conduct are compiled in an official report accompanied with our recommendations. Fresh Studio’s role means that our customer can rest assured that the product is in line with its specifications and that they can work safely with the supplier for the purchase. We are proud to support our client in developing its business and delivering better food to its customers every year.

Note: From our base in the Mekong Delta, we inspect at any seafood buyer. We do not take commission from local producers, and can assure clients that product specifications are met and that the vast expense of defective shipments can be avoided. Contact us for more information.

Training for Pangasius and Tilapia farmers in Vinh Long and Dong Thap provinces

Aquaculture is a vital component of the social and economic tissue for many provinces in the Mekong Delta. In the riverine provinces of Vinh Long and Dong Thap, where nearly half of the national Pangasius production takes place, sustainable expansion of aquaculture is constrained by several factors. Among those, the lack of appropriate extension approaches, limited technological know-how, and variable input quality are very often stressed by local farmers.

Through the PAP “Powering Aquaculture Progress” project launched in 2013, De Heus together with its implementing partners Fresh Studio, Can Tho University and Wageningen University have envisioned the development a state-of-the-art R&D facility serving as a nexus in the Mekong Delta where innovations could be developed, tested and adapted to local conditions in collaboration with local farmers.

After 4 years of development, 2017 marked a new milestone with the first training sessions held at the facility.

Sessions featured stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, including more than 100 Pangasius and Tilapia farmers, members of the De Heus’ Research and Sales team, local and international industry experts, and academics from Can Tho University.

Because project partners knew that farmers often find training programs irrelevant to the practicalities of their work, Fresh Studio conducted a field survey of farm practices among nearly 50 farms throughout the rainy season to identify knowledge gaps and understand the difficulties experienced during production.

The results from this survey helped select relevant topics and support trainers prepare adapted materials and methodologies.

Using the research conducted in preparation for the program, sessions led by Dr. Mahmoud Haidar and Mr. Nguyen Van Khanh from the De Heus technical team shed light upon the power of data application, and its potential value added on farm efficiency.

Fresh Studio team interviewing a Tilapia grow out farmer during the survey

Disease management, the topic most often requested by the farmers, was led by the renowned Dr. Tu Thanh Dung from Can Tho University. Dr. Dung emphasized the need for more thorough diagnostic procedures to treat the root causes of a disease. She also discouraged use of chemicals and pharmaceuticals as a primary treatment, describing the importance of preventive measures.

Before the workshop sessions, attendees were given to a tour of De Heus’ state-of- the-art R&D facility. This allowed the R&D team to demonstrate the systems and explain how their research could be applied in practice. Fresh studio was responsible for preparing the sessions and facilitating the workshops and Q&A sessions.

Demonstrating technologies applied during the tour of the R&D facility

Farmers were actively involved in the training by raising many questions during presentations and hour-long exchange sessions. The open speaking platform and small number of attendees at each session (15-25 individuals) gave farmers the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics. These included vaccination, antibiotic resistance, seed selection, water quality management, and even emerging diseases.

For our partner De Heus, the opening of the R&D farm and the development of its own internal training program are key steps toward proposing services that should help address a wider range of issues facing producers in the region. Through these efforts, De Heus is beginning to establish itself as a major player in the aquafeed market and contributor to the sustainable development of fish farming in Vietnam.

Miss Tu Thanh Dung talking about disease prevention

Study Tour for HAS Den Bosch students

Fresh Studio had the pleasure to organize a study tour for International Food & Agribusiness students from the HAS University of Applied Sciences Den Bosch of the Netherlands in April 2018. In addition to studying the agriculture sector in Vietnam, the students had also the opportunity to explore Vietnamese history and culture. 

The study tour started in Da Lat, in the central highlands of Vietnam. This area is a major horticulture production center for vegetables and flowers. Due to the mild climate, animal husbandry is also an important sector in this area. During the first 2 days, visits were made to a plant nursery, a modern greenhouse vegetable producer, a local dairy and pig farm, local vegetable farmers, the Fresh Studio R&D farm, a professional vegetable trader and the local wholesale market. The visits allowed students to gain insight into the organization of agriculture production and trade in one of the major horticulture regions of Vietnam.

After the cool central highlands, the program continued in the Mekong Delta starting at the Cu Chi tunnels followed by a visit to the Cu Chi Hightech Agricultural park. Combining study and tourism, the tour introduced the students to an important historical area where they could see an example of Vietnamese ingenuity from the war. Later they saw how innovation has been applied to the aquaculture and fruit sectors, two sectors where Vietnam is a major exporter. Visits to fish and fruit farms were integral to the program. Students also could see how these products are handled further up the supply chain through visits to a professional fruit exporter and Binh Dien whole sale market. During the last day SOFRI (Southern Horticulture Research Institute), Vinacas (Vietnamese cashew nut association) and the Dutch consulate in HCMC were visited before the program was completed with a visit to Nong Lam University where Dr. Võ Thái Dân (Dean of the Faculty of Agronomy) was kind enough to present how agriculture education is organised in Vietnam.

After covering a wide range of agricultural subsectors, different actors in each supply chain, and exchanging information on the roles of governments and educational institutions in agriculture, the students wrapped up their studies in Vietnam. Fresh Studio thanks the students and teachers from the HAS Den Bosch for their enthusiastic participation as well as all of the hosts and facilitators who shared their knowledge and time with the participants.