Reaching lower income consumers with safe and healthy food – Mission possible?

Nearly 50% of Hanoi’s urban population lives on 4 USD or less a day. This group represents a food value of circa 5 million USD/day. Despite their demand for safe and nutritious food, this economy of scale is not yet targeted with fresh food quality improvements.

Food that carries formal food safety certification by government authorities is mainly traded at registered and certified food safety retail outlets, targeting middle and upper income classes. Even though Hanoi’s lower income residents are explicitly demanding for safe and healthy foods, they are generally excluded from these channels.

The exclusion of lower income consumers from more controlled formal food provision systems urges innovative approaches.

The research was funded by BoP Innovation Center and conducted by Fresh Studio in 2013.

Get access by downloading the report below and discover whether it is a “Mission (im)possible” to reach lower income consumers in urban Hanoi with certified safe and healthy food.

+ Reaching lower income groups with safe and healthy food – mission possible? (3 MB)


Source: Fresh Studio

Language: English

Publication date: June 2014

Marion Klaver: Social media and how consumers cope with uncertainties of safe vegetables

HANOI – During my Msc Mangement Economics and Consumers studies at Wageningen University I was given the beautiful chance to be part of the Fresh Studio team in Hanoi as an intern.

Choice for Fresh Studio

Having been abroad only within the European borders, I was looking for an internship outside Europe. From within my network, I heard about Fresh Studio in Vietnam. After reading about the company, the contact was quickly made. Within six months I set foot on Vietnamese soil, a choice which I will never regret. Fresh Studio is a very inspiring company, there is an incredible synergy between creativity, well-considered solutions, and the way diverse disciplines work together.

Internship / thesis 

Throughout this five month period I conducted a study about the role social media plays on how Vietnamese consumers cope with perceived uncertainties on safety of vegetables in Hanoi.
The research focused on the following three main questions:

1. In what way do online social networks play a role in the demand for safety of vegetables by Vietnamese consumers?

2. Which alternative information coping strategies may be used with regard to safety of vegetables in Vietnam?

3. What is the impact of online social networks on other coping strategies with regard to information about safe vegetables in Vietnam.

In order to answer the research questions, 1400 surveys with Vietnamese consumers were carried out at shops which claim to sell safe vegetables. This research has resulted in a Msc thesis for Wageningen University. 

Next to my own project, I had the opportunity to work together with colleagues on different marketing and business development projects. Amongst these, two projects carried out in Hanoi, one a safe vegetable retail census and the other a vegetables project with the Dutch school. All projects have challenged me to move away from the comfort of my study books and theories to put my skills into practice.


Doing an internship overseas involves a bit of a culture shock. Not only did I had to get used to the culture of the country (e.g. bargaining in every shop, crowded streets with motorbikes) but even more I had to adapt to a different culture of working. For example my colleagues saw me as their friend instead of as their colleague. So, after work I did spend a lot of time with them at street canteens and bars. They also showed me many places in Hanoi and took me on motorbike road trips to the North of Vietnam. Seeing many places in Vietnam and also Cambodia, I can say I have explored a bit of the way of living and working in a South East Asian country.

Being abroad offers a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizon; you will experience a process of development that will make you a better and open-minded person. For me, it was an experience that I am sure I will remember for the rest of my life.Also interesting to read:

Exciting Vietnamese consumers with the best avocados from Vietnam

DAK LAK – Fresh Studio and several local partners are implementing a two year program to professionalize the avocado agricultural sector of Vietnam.

The best avocados in Vietnam come from Dak Lak Province, where about 250,000 avocado trees are grown. After an extensive supply chain analysis, all actors in the avocado sector were brought together and an action plan was developed.

One of the main activities was the creation of a consumer awareness campaign to grow the domestic market demand for avocado. Another important activity was to create a higher quality avocado, and to determine an introductory label (DAKADO) which would later be harnessed as a real brand.

In a unique cooperation with Vietnam’s largest supermarket chain, Saigon Co.Op Mart, and Vietnam’s largest wholesaler, Metro Cash & Carry, the avocado sector will present itself to Vietnamese consumers through the ‘Discover the magic of avocado’ campaign. This campaign will run from the 23rd until the 29th of July in the stores of Vietnam’s largest supermarket chain, Saigon Co.Op Mart, and from the 9th until the 16th of August in the stores of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam.

The avocado is relatively new in Vietnam, and consumers are not yet familiar with the fruit’s nutritional value and uses. For example, few know that the avocado contains more than 14 vitamins and minerals, almost as much protein as milk.

In Co.Op Mart stores in Ho Chi Minh City, special avocado promotion teams will inform consumers about the magical values of avocado, and inspire consumers to discover new ways of preparing avocado through presenting versatile recipes, and offering taste-tests of the Dak Lak variety. To demonstrate dishes made with avocado, the campaign in METRO’s An Phu store in August will include a cooking demonstration by a professional chef. For one week consumers in-store will discover the ‘magic avocado brings to your kitchen, your health, your beauty’ and of course, to nature.

This consumer campaign is part of the not-for profit project titled ‘Development of an avocado value chain from Dak Lak province’ (DAKADO for short). The DAKADO project aims to create a supply chain which will deliver Dak Lak quality avocados to Vietnamese consumers, while resulting in improved benefits for all actors involved in the chain. To achieve this goal, the DAKADO project team facilitated a dialogue between farmers, collectors and traders, which resulted in a cooperative agreement to ensure high consumer quality, through improved avocado harvesting and post-harvest operations.

Now, for the first time in Vietnam, avocados will be harvested in a professional way, transported with care, packed in specially designed trays, and labeled with the DAKADO logo. In the coming eighteen months more improvements will be made – avocado cultivation training programs and cold storage experiments will be implemented. The potential for avocado processing (avocado oil, for example) will be assessed. In 2008, the DAKADO label will be further developed into a consistent quality brand.

The DAKADO project is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development within the framework of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Program of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and GTZ. The project follows a so-called ‘value chain’ approach. This means that strategies have been developed for all stages in the chain, from planting avocados to eating avocados. The DAKADO work is carried out by the Center of Science and Technology Application (CSTA), the Western Agriculture Research Institute (WASI) and Fresh Studio.

For more information about the project and avocado facts please visit : www.dakado.vnAlso interesting to read: