Import and export of processed food expands opportunities for sustainable production


The briefing session with the Vietnam trade office system abroad is held monthly by the Ministry of Industry and Trade
The briefing session with the Vietnam trade office system abroad is held monthly by the Ministry of Industry and Trade

The food processing industry has many opportunities

On February 28, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) held a trade promotion briefing session with the overseas Vietnamese trade office system in February 2023. Director of Trade Promotion Department Vu Ba Phu said that this meeting discussed export opportunities for the processed food industry, with a focus on Asian, Oceania, and African markets; discussed and found solutions to remove difficulties and obstacles in import and export activities, thereby aiming at sustainable import and export development for Vietnam’s processed food products.

According to the Vietnam trade promotion agency, despite the positive recovery in the world situation, the food processing industry is forecast to continuously face obstacles in terms of macro and business environment in 2023. Supply chain shocks in export markets lead to higher prices of raw materials, fuels, materials, and freight rates, leading to high commodity prices and low consumer demand, affecting the competitiveness of Vietnam’s export goods and products.

However, with the integration trend of the country, the food processing industry has great opportunities to expand and diversify cooperation relations with other countries to improve international competitiveness. Simultaneously, the free trade agreements (FTAs) that continuously implement the tariff reduction roadmap also open up many opportunities for businesses in the industry to develop and increase export opportunities. The reopened Chinese market will be more favorable for businesses to export processed food products.

Thanks to the advantage of agricultural development, Vietnam’s agricultural products and processed foods are now present in more than 180 countries and territories. At the same time, many industries in this field have contributed more than US$1 billion to the annual export turnover, especially seafood, and more than US$10 billion to Vietnam’s total export turnover.

Thanks to abundant raw materials, the food processing industry still has a lot of room and potential for development. Therefore, the Prime Minister has issued Decision No. 493/QD-TTg approving the strategy for the import and export of goods up to 2030, in which the export orientation is set for the group of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products that need to increase the proportion of deeply processed products with high economic value and improve the ability to meet regulations and quality standards.

Despite the great competitiveness in the export market, most of Vietnam’s agricultural, forestry, and fishery products are exported mainly raw products and through unofficial channels. Vietnam’s agricultural, forestry, fishery products and processed foods are still under intense competitive pressure from countries in the ASEAN region, Asia, or the big customers of Vietnamese enterprises – China.

Additionally, the world’s leading cashew import and consumption markets, such as the US, the EU, and China, increasingly demand sustainability for products, including social, environmental, and economic aspects of the entire supply chain.

Ensure product brand reputation

Changes in consumer behavior also negatively affect Vietnamese exporters, especially the global trend currently favoring plant protein sources to replace animal protein sources, leading to increased demand for organic products. This challenge should also be seen as an opportunity for Vietnam’s processed food exporters to seize and develop.

For example, for the Malaysian market, the Vietnam Trade Office in this country recommended that food exporters should pay attention to the export of HALAL-certified food products due to the large percentage of Muslims in Malaysia and the selection of only HALAL-certified products. In particular, Malaysia is strengthening control of the cost of living due to a shortage of certain foods. Thus, enterprises producing products for essential needs, such as eggs and rice, should pay attention to connecting with the distribution system to increase exports.

The Vietnam Trade Office in Japan said that when doing business with Japanese partners, Vietnamese exporters should make outright purchases and sales and continuously monitor and control how the market receives their products and how customers respond to avoid unnecessary risks, thereby ensuring the reputation of your product brand.

The Department of Trade Promotion suggested that overseas Vietnamese trade agencies should continuously better promote their working role in supporting localities, associations, industries, and businesses to develop production, build brands, and diversify markets, supply chains, and exports.

Simultaneously, Departments of Industry and Trade, industry associations, and import-export businesses need to take advantage of the briefings as a quick exchange channel, specifically support the import and export promotion of potential products and strengths to the world market, make recommendations to the MoIT and especially to Vietnamese trade agencies abroad to support local businesses and industries to do well in market work, and effectively implement import and export, contributing to the increasingly strong development of Vietnam’s trade.


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