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Việt Nam attends largest food and beverage expo in UK

2024-04-04 09:19:46

A booth introducing Vietnamese products at the International Food and Drink Expo (IFE) 2024 in London. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Eight Vietnamese enterprises are showcasing their food and beverage products at the International Food and Drink Expo (IFE) 2024 in London, the UK from March 25 – 27.

IFE, held from Monday to Wednesday at ExCel, the largest national exhibition centre in London, is renowned as the UK's largest annual international trade fair dedicated to the food and beverage industry.

This year's event has attracted nearly 1,000 businesses from 102 countries and has garnered the attention of 27,000 British and international traders.

The Vietnamese booths at the expo are showcasing an array of enticing products. Fresh fruits like pomelos, guavas, durians, red-fleshed dragon fruits, and Lái Thiêu mangosteens are on display. Additionally, visitors can explore frozen seafood, various types of dried noodles, coffee and tea, coconut products such as coconut water, dried coconut, and coconut oil, as well as ginger-based products.

Hoàng Lê Hằng, the First Secretary of the Việt Nam Trade Office in the UK, recognised the significance of IFE, a event that has been connecting leading food businesses for over four decades. She said that participating in this expo provides enterprises with a valuable opportunity to meet potential customers face-to-face, gain insights into market trends, and showcase their products.

Hằng said that businesses unable to attend the expo physically can still promote their products by sending samples to be displayed at the VIệt Nam Trade Office booth.

The UK market holds immense potential for Vietnamese exporters, as evidenced by the continuous growth in Việt Nam's exports to the UK over the past three years. Hằng urged Vietnamese businesses to seize such opportunities to exhibit their stable, high-quality, environmentally friendly, diverse, and abundant products.

Marina Stewart, the International Sales Manager of the IFE organising committee, underscored the importance of IFE for companies seeking entry into the UK market. This event served as a crucial bridge connecting manufacturers with retailers, distributors, and major supermarket chains in the UK, including Sainsbury, Tesco, Iceland, and Aldi.

IFE was the only fair that covers the entire food supply chain, encompassing raw material production, product manufacturing, packaging, and dining services. It offered abundant opportunities for companies to find business partners across all sectors of the food industry, she said.

Stewart expressed her desire to witness a greater presence of Vietnamese products at IFE in the future, particularly plant-based, organic, and healthy products, given the rising demand for such offerings in the UK market.

Among the participating Vietnamese companies, Nguyễn Thị Hạnh Hương, CEO of Bến Tre Betrimex Import-Export Company, said IFE was a significant opportunity to engage with potential customers, including major retail chains in the UK.

Betrimex currently exports its products to over 70 countries worldwide, with more than 20 major customers in the UK. The company acknowledged the untapped potential for its coconut products in the UK market, considering the increasing demand for plant-based alternatives, Hương said.

With a population of 68 million people and high per capita income, the UK presents promising opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to export agricultural products and food. The country's food and beverage imports account for approximately 40 per cent of its total demand, with significant figures allocated to fruits and vegetables, beverages, grains, and coffee. The Vietnamese businesses participating in IFE are well-positioned to tap into this lucrative market.

Huỳnh Văn Tấn, general director of Camimex - a seafood export company in the Mekong Delta province of Cà Mau, said he hopes to receive additional support from the Vietnamese Trade Office in the UK in connecting Canimex in particular and firms in Cà Mau in general with distributors in the UK.

In January, Việt Nam’s export turnover to the UK reached nearly US$780.5 million, up over 57 per cent year-on-year. Most export items experienced stable growth, particularly agricultural products, with coffee increasing by 218.5 per cent, cashew nuts (nearly 61 per cent), pepper (over 60 per cent), fruits and vegetables (over 56 per cent), and seafood (over 26 per cent). — VNS