Vietnamese food enterprises may not be qualified as major suppliers of U.S. multinational retailer Walmart because of their small scale, but they may be its smaller providers, said Jocelyn Tran, senior director for Walmart Global Sourcing in Southeast Asia, at a conference on the local food industry.


Vietnam Foodexpo 2017 is a convergent point for Vietnamese companies and their foreign partners 

The conference on improvement of the food value chain was held in HCMC yesterday on the sidelines of Vietnam Foodexpo 2017.

Tran cited the regulation of Walmart as saying that small suppliers should have annual revenue of US$2.5 million, and revenue from supplies for Walmart should be less than US$100,000 a year.

She said if local companies want to cooperate with the retail giant, they must submit their audit reports to either Intertek, a UK-based total quality assurance provider, or third-party audits. Then, Walmart will assess their reports before giving its final say.

She added these enterprises should also follow good customer service principles such as respecting their customers, complying with prevailing regulations, and ensuring transparency. Besides, they should obtain global food safety initiative (GFSI) certification.

Also at the conference, some experts and corporate representatives called attention to the issue of branding among local companies. Some expressed their regret over the fact that more than 80% of Vietnam’s goods for export do not have brands while the brand value is the prestige of each country.

León Trujillo, a branding and marketing expert, said Vietnam has become a hub for food production, but many Vietnamese brands are not popular.

He quoted a recent report of Brand Finance, a London-based brand valuation and strategy consultancy, as saying that Vietnamese brands are worth US$203 billion, a staggering rise of 40% against 2016, but the figure is still modest compared to other regional countries.

Nguyen Phong, director of Eatuhoney Co Ltd in the Central Highlands province of Daklak, told the conference that his company has shipped a large amount of honey to the U.S. through an intermediary, so his products do not bear the brand “Eatuhoney.”

“Vietnam exports around 200,000 tons of honey a year, but the number of Vietnamese brands (in the sector) is insignificant. This is the pain of businesspeople,” he said.

Within the framework of the conference was a commercial transaction program between local enterprises and importers from China, Japan, France, Italy and the U.S.. Prominent names there included Vietnam’s Vinmart and Satra, South Korea’s CJ and Lottle, Thailand’s Central Group, and Walmart.

As many as 300 local food processors are expected to cut deals with their potential partners on the spot, opening up opportunities to supply goods to major food distributors at home and abroad, and expanding food and foodstuff supply chains.