Improved market engagement for off-seasonal vegetable producers in North-West Vietnam

Moc Chau and Son La government agronomists and extension officers will start to join Fresh Studio, Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NOMAFSI) and  Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA) in the monitoring of farmers.

The farmers participate in the project: Improved market engagement for counter-seasonal vegetable producers in North West Vietnam. The engagement of Moc Chau and Son La governments is part of 1) handing over project activities to local stakeholders and 2) developing a certification system to produce and market Moc Chau vegetables under a trademark.

One of the objectives of the project is to evaluate the economic potential and improve the current supply chain model. This model is introduced in 3 villages in Moc Chau, Vietnam: An Thai, Ta Niet and Tu Nhien. In order to achieve this objective, farmers are participating in trainings executed by experts from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), NOMAFSI, HUA, Fruits and Vegetables Research Institute (FAVRI) and Fresh Studio. After 3 years, the supply chain model is working and getting stronger. Farmer groups are now supplying and coordinating directly to the retailers.


^ Reviewers together with project team inspect the fields of potential farmers

Initially, the project focused mainly on supplying Hanoi market with safe vegetables during the off-season (March-November). However, due to a constant volume and improving quality of Moc Chau vegetables, Hanoi retailers are more than willing to purchase vegetable from Moc Chau whole year round.

The project will continue to train and support the local stakeholders until 2015. For the coming months, strengthening the farmer groups in the 3 core project villages is top priority together with registration and implementing control and monitoring of the trademark and logo. By the end of the project, farmers together with the local government of Moc Chau and Son La province will take over and continue the activities in supplying certified Moc Chau vegetables under one certification trademark.

Fresh Studio consultants attended a CBI seminar on market intelligence and ICSR

For strengthening the partnership between CBI and Fresh Studio in implementation of export coaching programs (ECP) in Vietnam, two consultants of Fresh Studio attended a seminar on updated ICSR and the use of CBI market intelligence database from 28-29 January 2014 in the Hague, the Netherlands.

The seminar was organized by the center for the promotion of imports from developing countries (CBI), an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The seminar provided insights on how the CBI market intelligence database is used for EU market research. Moreover, the participating experts were updated on international corporate social responsibility (ICSR) standards that are required for businesses that have the ambition to export to EU markets.

More importantly, the participation of over 30 experts from 24 different developing counties across the globe from Asia to Africa provided good opportunities for the participating experts to update and share their experience in implementation of CBI programs in their own countries, and establish their networking for future information and experience exchanges.

This type of CBI seminar is an effective platform for the experts from developing economies to be updated on ICSR developments and sharing experiences on the implementation of CBI programs across sectors and countries.

Presentation CBI CSR training in the Hague: Open as PDF (5,21MB)

Vietnam flower market scan and flower production visit

HCMC – Royalty Administration International and Fresh Studio executed a market scan of the flower market in HCMC and visited the flower production areas in Da Lat to determine which flower types and varieties are produced and sold in Vietnam.

The insights will be used to advise clients how to develop their products in the Vietnamese flower market.

In HCMC Royalty Administration International and Fresh Studio visited the largest flower wholesale markets (Ho Thi Ky, Dam Sen and Binh Dien), local flower shops and retailers selling flower to get a clear picture of the flower types and varieties sold through these sales channels. It is estimated that around 5 billion stems of flowers are consumed in Vietnam on a yearly basis and most flower are sold through flower stalls at the local markets and local flower shops. The main flower type sold in Vietnam is Chrysanthemum. Old varieties are still mainly sold, but there is an increasing demand in newer varieties with nicer colors and quality.

In Da Lat flower farmers and plant cutting propagators were visited. It is estimated that there is currently 2,000 hectares of greenhouse flower production surrounding Da Lat and this area is still expanding. Most farmers are obtaining their plant material from local propagators. These propagators use tissue culture techniques to produce the initial plant cuttings used for further multiplication. At farmer side and propagator side there is an increasing demand for better varieties, which have higher disease resistance, quality and production. For farmers and plant propagators it remains a challenge to have direct access to new flower varieties.

For more information contact Royalty International Administration or Fresh Studio.Also interesting to read:

Vegetable market locations in Hanoi

Mid 2012 Fresh Studio undertook a safe vegetable retail census covering 10 urban districts of Hanoi.

We combed every street in these 10 districts in search for outlets claiming to sell safe vegetables. The census included all supermarkets, all convenience stores and all vegetable shops, kiosks and stalls claiming to sell safe vegetables; explicitly communicating rau an toàn (safe vegetables), rau sạch (clean vegetables) and/or rau hữu cơ (organic vegetables).

Our research learned that the total volume of safe vegetables sold through the census outlets (based on collected data of average daily volume sales) represents less than 4% of the total amount of vegetables consumed in Hanoi (based on a per capita consumption of 290gr/day).

Further our research learned that supermarket sales account for around 63% of total safe vegetables sold by the census outlets combined.

Relative share in total safe vegetable sales (%):


The main purpose of the research is to provide a rough overview of the safe vegetable retail distribution in urban Hanoi. The enclosed map provides a snapshot of the safe vegetable retail distribution structure of April 2012. Since then across all categories some outlets have closed down while others have opened. We are currently updating the data and welcome information on newly opened channels and will make an updated census overview available through our website early 2014.

If you want to know more information about this census or if you are looking for more information on the category definitions and about the Hanoi market please contact us.

Knapen: Growth market for sustainable food in Vietnam

HANOI – ‘The demand for sustainable and safe food is growing in Vietnam, and the spending power for such products has increased.

This creates opportunities for Vietnamese farmers and Dutch entrepreneurs, who are internationally renowned for their expertise in sustainable agricultural methods,’ development cooperation minister Ben Knapen said on Tuesday after visiting a sustainable vegetable producer near the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

The minister is paying a working visit to Vietnam to witness the transition from aid to trade and investment. Vietnam has an economic growth rate of around 5%, and is one of the three developing countries where the Netherlands is deploying knowledge and experience accumulated through development cooperation for economic diplomacy.

The minister visited a sustainable vegetable farm, established with the help of development funding as well as with private financial support by specialists from the Dutch food chain company Fresh Studio. He spoke with women who have been trained to cultivate 18 types of high-quality vegetables without excessive use of pesticides. The women produce vegetables such as amaranth, choy sum, cucumber, aubergine, kang kong, kohlrabi and spinach on their smallholdings, destined for the Vietnamese market.

The successful vegetable chain is now financially independent, and each day supplies large volumes of safe, fresh vegetables to the population of Hanoi. Fresh Studio currently has plans, together with PepsiCo and (on the Dutch side) HZPC, Wageningen UR and Agrico, to devise a new sustainable food chain for potatoes. Mr Knapen has asked the company to elaborate on these plans, and to send them to NL Agency for a final assessment.

Mr Knapen also visited the deputy foreign minister, Bui Thanh Son. Topics of discussion included bilateral ties, cooperation and dialogue between the European Union and Vietnam in various fields, including human rights. The World Bank’s annual meeting was also discussed. On Wednesday Mr Knapen will travel to Ho Chi Minh City to learn about flooding and water management problems there.

Source: www.rijksoverheid.nlAlso interesting to read:

Organic market for Vietnam

HANOI – Sigrid Wertheim-Heck of Fresh Studio discusses a new organic vegetable initiative in Northern Vietnam, which marketed its first product in Hanoi at the end of May.

Please can you give us some background information to your organic production and marketing efforts in northern Vietnam?

Sigrid: The ADDA VNFU Organic Project in Northern Vietnam, initiated by the Danish NGO ADDA, has been operational since 2004. The activities were at first mainly focused on training farmers in organic cultivation methods. Although these activities delivered some nice organic supply initiatives, the actual organic supply chain remained limited to direct home delivery sales on a very small scale.

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Source: AsiaFruit Magazine

Publication date: June 2010Also interesting to read:

Fresh Studio finalized Cardamom market research

LAO CAI – Sigrid Wertheim, Ho Thu Thuy and Nguyen Trung Anh successfully finalized market research for the Vietnamese cardamom sector.

During an interactive workshop in Lao Cai, the highlights of the results of the market study were presented to, and discussed with, representatives of the Vietnamese cardamom sector. Clear recommendations were developed to enable the Vietnamese cardamom sector to become increasingly successful.

Fresh Produce Vietnam homes in on hot new market

HCMC – Vietnam is rapidly emerging as the next major market opportunity for the fresh fruit and vegetable business in Asia.

This much was very clear from last week’s Fresh Produce Vietnam, the first-ever international produce conference in the country, which was abuzz with news and networking focused on its exciting potential.

The three-day event, which met from 2-4 April in Ho Chi Minh City, attracted more than 150 delegates from 20 different countries, reflecting the global interest in Vietnam’s potential both as a supplier and as a consumer market.

Opening the conference, Dinh Van Huong, chairman of Vinafruit, outlined the government’s ambitious targets to boost fruit production from 7m tonnes to 10m tonnes by 2010 and to more than double export revenues to US$760m in the same period.

Dr Ngyuen Minh Chau of the Southern Fruit Research Institute pointed out that Vietnam’s capacity to supply a wide range of tropical and temperate fruits on a near year-round basis is a distinct advantage. The industry still faces major hurdles to fulfilling its potential, most notably the fragmented supply base of smallholders, he said, but two dragonfruit producers gained EurepGAP certification in 2006/07 and the launch of VietGAP this year should provide more suppliers with a platform to reach such standards.

Vietnam has also seen competition from China and Thailand intensify since free trade deals in 2003, and HortResearch’s Dr Michael Lay-Yee and Rabobank’s Brady Sidwell both underlined that the export market opportunity for Vietnam is focused on high-value products.

Vietnam’s burgeoning consumer market is also driving quality standards among local producers, and delegates heard how retailers like Metro Cash & Carry are helping to improve the supply chain by working directly with farmers.

Demand for imported fruits is also rising rapidly, and Vanguard’s Craig Stauffer said Vietnam represents a “phenomenal growth opportunity” with the scope to expand by 15-20 per cent annually. While the market opportunity for global suppliers has predominantly focused on a high-end niche to date, it is poised to become much bigger as tariffs are reduced, the economy forges ahead and modern food retail with refrigerated vending takes off, heard delegates.

The modern retail trade is still “very underdeveloped” in Vietnam compared with other countries in the region, according to The Nielsen Company’s Susan McDonald. Its share of total retail sales amounts to around 10 per cent, but it grew by 45 per cent last year with 72 new stores opened, and the modern trade could grab a 25 per cent share by 2010 as the market is set to open to 100 per cent foreign investment next year, she noted.

When it comes to buying fruit and vegetables, the wet market is still the preferred destination for Vietnamese consumers who tend to shop on a daily basis for fresh produce. Sigrid Wertheim-Heck of Fresh Studio Innovations Asia also highlighted deep and mounting food safety concerns among consumers following health scares. “They are very scared but have a low trust of guidance systems, and this shows the paradoxical consumer we’re dealing with,” she noted.

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Publication date: Oktober 2008

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Alex van Andel: Market research on seed sector of Dalat, Vietnam

DALAT – As part of the MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies at Wageningen University, I conducted an internship at Fresh Studio in Dalat, Vietnam. 

My assignment for this internship was to conduct a market research on the seed sector of Lam Dong Province, the province where Dalat is located.

The area of Dalat is well known for growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, thanks to the altitude and climate. As part of a project to introduce new vegetable varieties in Vietnam for one of Fresh Studio’s clients, I conducted a survey on the nursery sector in Lam Dong. Nurseries are greenhouses where seeds are grown into seedlings after which the seedlings are sold and transported to farmers.

My internship was a nice combination of field and office work. I conducted a survey and follow-up in-depth interviews with the owners of the nurseries and combined the insights into a final report on the seed/nursery sector of Lam Dong Province and the potential for seed sales per vegetable type for one of Fresh Studio’s clients.

About Fresh Studio
Fresh Studio is a young and developing company with passionate, professional, and committed people. I had the opportunity to not only learn from my own project, but also from the projects on which my colleagues were working. Activities ranged from the sourcing of vegetables for a large modern retailer, R&D for agriculture input providers and marketing of avocados in the traditional and modern retail outlets of Vietnam. The open and positive working atmosphere at Fresh Studio made me feel ‘at home’ very quickly.

Choice for Fresh Studio
Multinational companies always appealed to me and so it was an atypical choice for me to undertake my internship within a relatively small company as Fresh Studio. However, I have not regretted this choice, as Fresh Studio is a professional and well-organized company which provided a great learning environment.

Before my departure to Vietnam, I arranged the visa, flight ticket and required vaccinations. Next to providing work-related facilities, Fresh Studio arranged my accommodation and covered my expenses.

Looking back
My four month period in Vietnam enriched my life. I experienced the Fresh Studio way of doing business, worked in a professional organization, in a sector which appeals to me very much, in a country that is not only beautiful, but is also economically booming.

Moreover, being part of the Fresh Studio ‘family’, experiencing the Vietnamese culture and traveling in Vietnam and Cambodia after my internship made it an experience I will never forget.Also interesting to read:

Trade opportunities for seasonal fruit in Asian markets

HANOI – Fresh Studio is a multinational consulting, R&D and marketing development company in Asia which collaborates with growers and their suppliers towards the realization of added value to joint projects.

The company has offices operating in several Asian countries, servicing customers recognized worldwide. One of Fresh Studio´s Managing Partners will feature as a speaker at the Asiafruit Congress and Asia Fruit Logistica.

“Fresh Studio observes Asia as the consumer market that is fast becoming the biggest in the world. Here, largest part of the world’s population is living and where most of the economic growth is concentrated. This provides many opportunities for growth and especially for trade,” says Van Wijk. One of the interesting conclusions Fresh Studio notes, are trade opportunities arising from seasonal differences between Asian countries.

Another development that deserves attention is the increased interest in food safety and responsiveness to branding, which is starting to have an enormous impact on sales. Asian consumers display a curiosity to discover new products. They have high esteem for products from Australia, Europe, Chile and South Africa. Fresh Studio works within these areas, looking to create value, improve efficiency, and develop premium products and processes in the entire value chain to create uniqueness for its clients, and to provide consumers with an enjoyable and reliable food experience. This way, Fresh Studio intends to become the most recognized initiator and developer of unique value chains, and an accelerator of innovations adopted by the fresh food industry in Asia.

It will become more important for companies exporting to Asia to be based in Asia itself and to be close to the consumer, benefiting from the cheaper labor costs. In addition, much of the R&D talent will be Asian. Asian populations are young, agricultural universities are full, and people are eager to learn. International companies show more and more interest in selling fresh produce to Asia, and to deploy domestic market research.

At the Asiafruit Congress, Fresh Studio will present how it aims to convert product chains into value chains. The majority of fresh produce trade in Asia involves product chains, competing on price alone. By using some of its projects as examples, Van Wijk will illustrate what Fresh Studio is doing to transform these into value chains.

“We really like to invite investors from Europe to come investigate what is happening in Asia, to see and experience the amazing developments taking place. After such a trip, serious entrepreneurs will not hesitate to enter the Asian market,” concludes Van Wijk.

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