What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Saigon Mission Accomplished!

Welcome to HCM City.  20 hrs, but worth it!  The Cathedral in the photo is a remnant along with Opera House and Main Post office from the French Colonial era.  
Some of you who think I am on the way to Food Taipei will be surprised to see the Welcome sign at the Vietnam Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Duty calls, and we needed to get 30 kg of generic frozen blueberries to Vietnam for testing and product development and pronto.   And, we got it done this weekend. 

Despite great demand, there are no non-stop air flights from the USA to Vietnam -- yet.  Must fly through Tokyo on the way.

It's all about sampling.  Ask anyone in the frozen business -- what is the toughest thing about new markets.  All will reply -- sampling.  Quite simply, the easy task back home is mission impossible.  It is extremely costly to ship small frozen samples overseas.  Especially to a steamy place like Vietnam.  90 degrees and 90 percent humidity.  A lot like New Orelans in the summer.  Product must be shipped wit dry ice, and since 9-11, the rules are very, very strict on the amount that can be used in airline baggage or carry in.  

Oh yes, just send by Fedex,  DHL and others is not a great option.  Packers can all tell horror stories of goods carefully packed, and paid and shipped which are delayed in customs.  Inspectors can ask for all sorts of needless documents while the goods thaw.  

We buzzed right over to a cold storage at 10:00 pm to deliver the goods.   Note the steamed glasses on the right!  This is the best gig in town!  Everyone, especially Hana on the right are extremely happy and now tomorrow morning we will start visiting companies!
Back to my triumphant arrival to SGN!  The goods made it, walked through customs and was met by our Hana and her crew in Vietnam who have been nervously awaiting frozen samples.    We got it through, and I got a great Vietnamese sandwich and a bag of mangos as sign of appreciation!

Off to a cold storage nearby.   The goods are now being used to gain the proper permits for USHBC to bring in a larger sample shipment that will be used for market development work and expositions in the region.   We are working with the leading dairy and food processing companies and all are anxious to give product a try.

Critical link in the process:  As I have been preaching for decades, food industry market development is a process.  Below is the chart of the process we have been preaching for decades.

>First Build Awareness (This is where we are in most developing markets)
>This leads to Interest by some who see some benefit from our product.  In Vietnam, thanks to the work of Hana, there is a growing interest!  
>Trial and Evaluation.  Before business, companies want to see the goods.  In this case frozen blueberries and purees and concentrates.  They want to see, taste and test.  This is critical, and this is the reason, I re-routed my travel to Taiwan to get samples into Vietnam.
>All leads to acceptance.  This is where companies are sold on the concept of bringing frozen blueberries and ingredient solutions into the country.   These companies will work off the USHBC suppliers list and connect.

That is what it is all about!

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