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Viet Nam needs to develop coffee branding to go global


Viet Nam has no coffee brand in the list of the 10 most expensive in the world, although it is the largest Robusta coffee producer and ranks second in export coffee volume.

Viet Nam’s coffee exports in February 2023 reached 180,000 tonnes, earning $393 million, up 26.3 per cent in volume and 26.5 per cent in value on month. Photo

Viet Nam has no coffee brand in the list of the 10 most expensive in the world, although it is the largest Robusta coffee producer and ranks second in export coffee volume.

In the past, Viet Nam has had many programmes on coffee sustainable development. However, it is necessary to develop a value chain from production to consumption.

Viet Nam needs to reposition its coffee brand, focus on continuing to replant, build brands, and process refined products, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Minh Hoan.

Hoan said that the important thing is the place of Vietnamese coffee on the world coffee map. Customers like Arabica coffee but Viet Nam is the largest Robusta coffee producer. 

If Viet Nam wants to have a reputation on the world coffee map, it must determine whether to develop Arabica coffee or maintain production of Robusta coffee, or mix these two coffee lines, according to Hoan. 

Coffee is widely considered as more than just a drink. Many products are developed from coffee trees such as coffee flower honey, fertilizer from coffee grounds, and dyes for fabrics, yarns and shoes.

Meanwhile, Viet Nam is still producing and exporting raw materials.

If Viet Nam’s coffee industry wants to increase the value of coffee by 5-10 times, it must review the product lines, market trends and demand. For processed coffee products, it is necessary to understand the needs of customers to provide suitable products.

At present, very few companies make brands of Vietnamese coffee to export to the world. Thailand has high-class coffee, selling for up to US$50-100 per cup in 5-star hotels around the world.

Regarding building a Vietnamese coffee brand in foreign markets, Lê Hữu Nghĩa, general director of Lê Thành Company and chairman of LEKOFE Coffee Beverage Co, Ltd, said foreign consumers had the habit of using branded coffee made by local producers. “Vietnamese coffee has a good taste, is of better quality and is cheaper, but they do not pay attention.”

Viet Nam’s enterprises must sell raw coffee to factories processing branded coffee products.

Therefore, the businesses that want to build a coffee brand to increase the value of Vietnamese coffee in foreign markets needed a methodical strategy, Nghĩa said. 

Besides that, it would be necessary to focus on communication for consumers about clean and quality coffee, and for farmers about growing coffee under international standards, he said.

This month, the 8th Buôn Ma Thuột Coffee Festival takes place from March 10 to 14 in Buôn Ma Thuột City to gradually make Buôn Ma Thuột a destination on the world coffee map, contributing to raising the value of Vietnamese coffee in the global market.

In recent years, at world-leading coffee competitions, such as the International Catering Cup, Viet Nam’s Robusta coffee bean brand has been recognised by experts and won awards.

Reputable organizations such as Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and Fairtrade, have certified Vietnamese Robusta coffee to meet international quality and standards. 

At the World Barista Championship in September 2022, Takayuki Ishitani, the Japanese champion in 2017 and 2019, used Vietnamese Robusta.

Now, Vietnamese Robusta coffee is consumed in more than 80 countries and territories. Vietnamese coffee has recorded strong growth in exports to countries consuming a large volume of coffee. 

In the first 10 months of 2022, Viet Nam’s coffee exports surged by 58.2 per cent to $494.9 million to Germany, 78.7 per cent to $57 million to France and 91 per cent to $28 million to Canada.

Italy – ranking first in terms of coffee consumption and home to the espresso and cappuccino – has also increased coffee imported from Viet Nam, the Kinh tế đô thị (Urban Economy) newspaper reported.

In January 2023, Viet Nam’s coffee exports to Italy reached 17,270 tonnes, earning about $36 million, up 79 per cent in volume and 81.5 per cent in value compared to December 2022.

According to the General Department of Customs, Viet Nam’s coffee exports still maintain second place in the world, after Brazil. Viet Nam’s coffee exports in February 2023 reached 180,000 tonnes, earning $393 million, up 26.3 per cent in volume and 26.5 per cent in value on month, and 28.7 per cent in volume and 22 per cent in value on year.

However, in the first two months of this year, Viet Nam’s coffee exports reached 323,000 tonnes, worth $703 million, down 13.1 per cent in volume and 14.6 per cent in value over the same period of 2022.

Source: Viet Nam News

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