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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Focusing on growing sustainably

By Dennis Khng

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Despite the economic slowdown in Vietnam and the world, companies at the recent HCMC FOODEX 2023 exhibition displayed resilience and optimism, exploring innovative ways to expand and seeking synergistic partnerships.

The prevailing strategy among many companies was to grow sustainably and organically—both in business and agriculture. The event saw over 200 exhibitors showcasing around 5,000 products and brands, attracting more than 18,000 visitors from Vietnam and overseas, representing 20 countries and territories.

Kevyn Nguyen (Nguyen Dinh Quyen), CEO of Theorganikcoffee, expressed his satisfaction with the trade fair, stating, “We met many people from Vietnam and other countries who were very keen on our products. We believe in growing our coffee organically and see it as the sustainable path to further develop our business.” Nguyen said that his family-run company, based in Lam Dong Province, transitioned to organic farming methods after extensive internal evaluation and discussions.

Theorganikcoffee holds various organic certifications, including Mayacert and USDA Organic. Local distributors have shown great interest in their coffee, while overseas prospective partners are intrigued by the company’s sustainable farming and production practices. The company refrains from using artificial colors or flavors, GM ingredients, or pesticides. Moreover, they contribute a portion of their proceeds to organizations dedicated to preserving Vietnam’s forests, securing biodiversity, and combating climate change.

Theorganikcoffee also adopts an online retail approach, marketing its coffee through member subscriptions. They offer a variety of coffee blends, single-origin varietals, and low-caffeine options, among others.

Another company embracing sustainable growth practices is TTS Thanh Thanh Mushroom Farm, also known as Trang Trai Nam Thanh Thanh, located in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Initially a solar energy producer, the company utilizes solar panels for electrical power generation. Recently, they diversified into Linh Chi (Ganoderma or Ling Zhi) mushroom farming, cultivating this well-known product in greenhouses powered by their own solar panels. Thanh Thanh Mushroom Farm operates under a closed green agricultural value chain model, aligning with sustainable agricultural development criteria.

Introducing his company’s various products, Khanh Huy, manager at TTS, said, “The Linh Chi mushroom is well-known as a powerful health supplement, with the ability to lower cholesterol levels and decrease high blood pressure, as well as improve the immune system. Because it is known to boost our immunity, Linh Chi’s popularity bloomed over Covid and has grown!”

The health benefits of Linh Chi include improving the quality of sleep, reducing stress and stomach inflammation, detoxifying the liver, and aiding in the treatment of liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis. Additionally, it apparently possesses anti-cancer properties. All these restorative benefits have enabled this super health food to command high prices on the open market.
“As we grow our Linh Chi in-house, instead of being picked from the wild, it looks lighter brown in color and is also more affordable than the Korean ones,” Khanh pointed out.

The company markets its Linh Chi in various forms, including tea, such as Ganoderma Spore Tea (Tra Bao Tu Linh Chi) or Lichi Athlete Tea (Tra Luc Si Lichi), which contains Japanese Red Ganoderma. These beverages contain high triterpenoid compounds that are superior to other mushroom varieties, making it more effective in supporting disease treatment.

TTS’s Linh Chi is also sold as dried produce in different forms such as “raw ear,” sliced, and finely ground. “In fact, this finely ground powder can be used to improve our facial complexion,” Khanh revealed. Their products are distributed online and through channels such as supermarkets.

Nguyen Huy Thanh, director at Thanh Thanh Mushroom Farm, was pleased with the response from the trade fair visitors. “Many people have been inquiring about our products,” he said, adding that having a presence at the fair enabled his company to reach out to many more prospective customers and partners. “Most people think of Vung Tau as a place that has mainly a marine and tourism industry. But we are so much more than that!”

Having a business presence at the fair, along with other food production companies from this province, has allowed them to market themselves much better, he noted.

Indeed, the broader message from the Ba Ria-Vung Tau pavilion, as well as other provincial pavilions like Long An and Dong Thap, was that diverse cooperation opportunities abound.

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