Fresh Studio organizes successful kiwifruit brand awareness program in HCMC

HCMC – Fresh Studio has collaborated with E-town Building to organize a sampling activity for a well-known international kiwifruit brand on October 25th, 2013.

Since 2009, Fresh studio has been assisting this international company in designing and implementing marketing plan for a global branded fruit to adapt and conquer Vietnam market.

See photos of this event on the bottom of this page.

This event is part of the following project:

Fruit marketingA global fruit brand contracted Fresh Studio to execute their marketing strategy in Vietnam and the Philippines.+ Read more

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Food safety is a main concern in Vietnam

HANOI – How do Vietnamese farmers living in the mountains, far away from the big city manage to sell their fresh vegetables at supermarkets in Hanoi? The Dutch organization Fresh Studio helped the farmers to make it possible. An interview with Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, Fresh Studio’s Marketing and Business Development Director.

Translated directly from Dutch

Fresh Studio has developed a ‘cold chain’ for small scale remote farmers so they can sell their fresh products in Hanoi. What is it exactly?

“We bring small scale framers together who live widely dispersed from each other. We collect the harvest at central collection points and from there it is transported to the city and to the supermarkets.”

How does it work?
“First, farmers bring their harvested products to a central collection point. Second, the vegetables will be sorted and stacked on a pallet. A ‘cooling blanket’ is wrapped around the pallet and a ventilator is installed above it to blow air through the pallet. By this, we can maintain the quality of the products. Finally, the products are transported with a truck to supermarkets.”

Is there a high demand for fresh products in Hanoi?
“Food safety is the main concern in Vietnam. Every day, you can find a newspaper article about a food scandal. The demand for fresh vegetables is enormous. Only in Hanoi, a city of 6.5 million inhabitants, people already eat vegetables which is equal to half of the Dutch vegetable consumption. However, in the meantime, the population is very suspicious about food. In particular, the incorrect and excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is a major concern.”

And what did you do?
“We did an intervention in two ways; first, we have unified farmers and gave them the opportunity to enter the urban market. Second, we assisted them to produce safe products. The execution of the intervention relies on 3 teams. One team of agronomist trains the farmers in how to grow crops in a safe way and coaches them to deal with pesticides. Another team executes audits to check if the crops meet the quality requirements. The harvest products will be rejected when the farmer cannot meet the required standard. A third team assists in the marketing and communication towards end-consumers.”

How do the farmers get paid?
“Supermarkets offer the farmers a predetermined week price per product. So they know in advance exactly what the yield is of a kilo beans or tomatoes.”

And what about you?
“We are paid by commercial parties, trade enterprises between farmers and supermarkets. And we receive funding for our projects.”

What is Fresh Studios’ future goal?
“At this moment we assist the trade company The Fruit Republic with their current marketing of four thousand pounds of safe vegetables a week. That could be a lot more, since the demand of safe vegetables is high. We have developed the recognizable red Mekostar label, so consumers will recognize immediately which products are good and reliable. In a country of 88 million citizens, I expect an enormous increase of the safe vegetables sales. With the mission to grow better lives from farmers to consumers, Fresh Studio works on every aspect of agri-food provision: From farm to fork, from sourcing to marketing.

Read this article in Dutch at RTL Nieuws or at AGF


Source: RTLZ

Language: Dutch (Translation English)

Publication date: October 2013Also interesting to read:

Accelerating Innovation for the Poor

AMSTERDAM – During 3 Pilots for Pro-Poor Innovation (3P4PPI) conference in Amsterdam Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, marketing director of Fresh Studio, headed a round table discussion on market intelligence and consumer insights at the Base of the Pyramid.

Economies in Africa and Asia are rising. The poor are gaining buying power, which makes Base of the Pyramid (BoP) markets more attractive for the private sector. However, access to basic services remains a challenge. Innovations are needed!

This business meeting showed with presentations and round table sessions how to Accelerate Innovation for the Poor. The conference showcased how entrepreneurs have successfully introduced products and services in low-income countries Sigrid headed one of the round tables during the breakout session ‘Nurture and grow! Bridging the pioneer gap.’ The topic included local understanding – New market intelligence. In particular how to obtain in-depth insights and how to translate insights into new business opportunities was discussed. The group interaction importantly involved the sharing of practical experiences.

Furthermore, presentations were given to showcase the outcomes of 3P4PPI researches in Africa and Asia and follow-up activities that support the development of BoP-ventures. Fresh Studio presented the accomplishments of the interventions in safe vegetable production and marketing in Vietnam.

Read more about this event at BoPInc.orgAlso interesting to read:

Export Coaching Program for food ingredient businesses

Fresh Studio is requested by the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) to assist with the recruitment of Vietnamese food ingredient companies to participate in a 4 year Export Coaching Program (ECP) which focusses on the EU market.


The ECP is developed for ambitious entrepreneurs in developing countries as Vietnam. The aim of the program is to promote and enhance the competitive position of value added food ingredient products for the export to EU food and beverage markets.

In order to meet the legislations and market requirements of European countries participating companies are trained, coached and advised about important export aspects. This includes product development, packaging, quality management and marketing.

Furthermore, the engaged companies have the opportunity to meet and build business relationships with potential clients at trade fairs and exhibitions in Europe.


Many active companies in the Vietnamese food ingredients sector are eager to participate in the program. Fresh Studio implemented the following steps in order to recruit the most suitable companies for the program:

  • Performed desk research to find food ingredient businesses who meet the CBI selection criteria;
  • Pre-selected potential companies;
  • Organized information sessions about CBI ECP for potential companies and supported them to fill in CBI application forms;
  • Sent the list of the pre-selected companies to CBI for reviewing and short-listing;
  • Audited, in collaboration with CBI experts, the short-listed companies in order to obtain insights in companies’ current export strengthens and weaknesses;
  • Prepared, in co-operation with CBI expert, final audit reports with recommendations and sent them to CBI for final company selection.


Fresh Studio continues to support the selection processes of food ingredient companies for the ECP.

A recently signed agreement between VIETRADE and CBI emphasizes the likelihood that more Vietnamese business will contribute in the ECP.

Workshop: improving Pangasius’ market position in Europe

HCMC – As a module of its supporting project of VASEP, CBI requested the assistance of Fresh Studio to design and facilitate a workshop. The aim of the workshop was developing a brand strategy for pangasius to enter the European market.

Pangasius is one of the key commodities in Vietnam and contributes important to the Vietnam export sector both in total value as well as in global outreach. However, over the past years, the export of pangasius is suffering from a poor image (resulting in declining prices and decreasing revenues). In order to counter the negative perception, price and revenue spiral, the Vietnam pangasius sector has expressed the ambition to develop a sector wide promotion and brand strategy, mainly targeting the two export markets USA and Europe.

The Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI) contributes to sustainable economic development in developing countries through the expansion of export from these countries to the Netherlands and larger European Union.

In Vietnam, CBI is already active in supporting Vietnamese companies to strengthen their competitive capacity in various sectors.

Currently CBI is engaged in the Vietnam pangasius sector and in this closely collaborates with the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Support of Fresh Studio
CBI requested the assistance of Fresh Studio to support the market position of Vietnamese pangasius in Europe. Fresh Studio has strong expertise and experience in (1) marketing and branding of agricultural foods and (2) aquaculture sector in Vietnam. Fresh Studio designed and facilitated a brand strategy workshop for VASEP, which was conducted in Ho Chi Minh City.

A very important outcome of the workshop was the understanding and precisely definition of the need of VASEP; the development of an end-consumption oriented communication strategy.Also interesting to read:

Fresh Studio presents developments in food safety standards and the role of supermarkets in Asia

HCMC – The 9th and 10th of October 2013, the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) will organize a business roundtable for firms in the agribusiness sector. Fresh Studio is invited to speak.

The business roundtable focusses on opportunities for firms who are interested to build sustainable supply chains with smallholder farmers.

During the roundtable agribusinesses firms, financial institutions, training practitioners, donors and other experts will share and discuss their experiences with innovative business models which promote sustainability and food security.

Fresh Studio’s managing director, Siebe van Wijk will give a presentation about the latest developments in food standards in Vietnam and the role of supermarkets.

Want to know more about the Siebe van Wijk’s presentation follow us on LinkedIn and website.Also interesting to read:

Fresh Studio develops a dairy farm monitoring system

HANOI – ‘I am impressed to see how FrieslandCampina has worked successfully with local farmers to increase the production of fresh milk in Vietnam.’

Locally produced fresh milk now makes up 19% of national milk production,’ international cooperation minister Ben Knapen said yesterday after visiting a model farm and a milk processing plant in southern Vietnam. Both are owned and managed by FrieslandCampina.

Dairy communities
FrieslandCampina aims not only to boost production, but to develop ‘dairy communities’, Mr Knapen was told. Through education and training, the company has already helped 3,000 small farmers meet quality and sustainability standards, and collaborate with arable farmers who produce animal feed. FrieslandCampina organises the collection, processing and distribution of milk throughout Vietnam: from grass to glass – no mean feat in such a large country.

Fresh milk
The average farmer in Vietnam has 10 cows. Farms are generally many hours drive from the nearest milk factory, which supplies some 120,000 shops. Fresh milk is not easy to come by in Vietnam. Three-fourths of all milk products are made from imported raw materials, like milk powder. Demand for fresh milk products far exceeds supply. So FrieslandCampina is working with Heus, Wageningen University and Fresh Studios to increase fresh milk production by setting up ‘dairy development zones’.

From aid to trade
Mr Knapen’s visit to FrieslandCampina concluded his visit to Vietnam. He was interested in how the shift from aid to trade is being made. The Netherlands will end its bilateral development relationship with Vietnam at the end of this year (which year?), in favor of an economic relationship built on the knowledge and experience gained from development co-operation, and the expertise of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.

At the end of his visit, Mr Knapen flew to Tokyo where he will attend the World Bank Group’s annual meeting.

Source: www.rijksoverheid.nlAlso interesting to read:

Development of dairy farm monitoring system

For one of our clients, Fresh Studio developed a simple, cash-based farm monitoring system and conducted a trial with four dairy farmers in Cu Chi District, HCMC, Vietnam.


In order to obtain better insights in farm economics and performance of individual dairy farmers, Fresh Studio developed a smallholder dairy farmer monitoring system. This will help farmers to improve their farm management.

In addition, the monitoring system will help farmers to get easier access to loans. There is currently limited access to finance for dairy farmers in Vietnam which causes difficulties to smallholders who want to scale up their operations. To provide access to loans for farmers, the financial performance of farms should be quantified. In this way dairy farmers can, for example, show banks how much free cash flow they are generating to repay a loan.


Fresh Studio developed a dairy farm monitoring system to quantify the actual cash that is generated with dairy farming in Vietnam. Furthermore, we give dairy farmers information on key performance indicators as average milk production per cow, costs per kg of milk produced and share of inputs on total costs.

In order for dairy farmers to comply easily with the system, it focused on actual input. Farmers recorded their inputs in a simple booklet that distinguished different types of inputs.

A trial with the dairy farm monitoring system is conducted with four dairy farmers in Cu Chi, HCMC. At the start of the trial the stock of all inputs was recorded. During the trial farmers registered their actual inputs as well as cash expenses in a booklet. Every two weeks (one period in the monitoring system) a Fresh Studio consultant visited the farmers to collect the booklets and at the end of the trial stock was recorded again.


Fresh Studio completed the trial with a farm report for each farmer which included the revenue/outputs and all expenses/inputs and summarized the (financial) performance of the dairy farm. In addition a benchmark was made which showed the performance of an individual dairy farmer compared to the group.

Private GAP implementation for large wholesaler

Upon request of one of world’s largest wholesalers we developed a private standard on good agriculture practices (GAP) with a specific focus on food safety.

The standard, guaranteeing full traceability from farm to fork, is tailored to two distinct fresh categories: vegetables and fish. Next a training program was designed and all actors along the production chain were trained in the implementation of the new standard. To date a team of Fresh Studio auditors audits the contracted farmers and suppliers annually. A random sampling program is being executed, continuously monitoring the correct standard implementation at farm level. Quality controllers check the incoming products daily at the client’s platforms (Hanoi, Dalat and Can Tho) for further distribution to all the stores in Vietnam.

Working with a multitude of small scale farmers was one of the main challenges in realizing consistent volume and quality supply. The close collaboration between agronomists and QA staff has proven vital in the realization of the QA program. This program is unique in Vietnam and sets our client aside from competition in terms of food safety.

A significant side effect of the standard implementation is that a whole village started to follow the example of the GAP farmers in keeping their fields and surroundings free of litter and waste.

Private label introduction for fresh products

Already operational in Vietnam is dedicated in delivering its customers the best and safest food quality in its fresh food category. Design equals strategy and creativity? (fruits & vegetables, fish & seafood, meat) a multi-national wholesaler approached Fresh Studio to revitalize its customer communications.

Since most of the effort in sourcing quality products was considered somewhat invisible to this client’s customers, the objective of the communication strategy was to create relevant and attractive positioning, resulting in a preference for the client’s label by professional buyers at purchasing outlets.

To enable transparent sourcing activities for its customers, the client planned to introduce one of its private labels in its fresh food category to the local market.

The aim was to distinguish premium quality fruits and vegetables from other brands and labels, and from bulk produce.

Fresh Studio was responsible for the research and development of the private label positioning, and the communication strategy. The assignment included the development of visual marketing materials.