What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Can-Do Cambodia!

USHBC FoodTech Hana Huynh visits Cambodia to assess future market for processed blueberries!   

Following the USHBC Strategic plan, USHBC FoodTech explores new long-term markets for highbush blueberries!  Since joining the team one year ago, Hana has visited most of the "Tiger Economies" of Southeast Asia, attending or exhibiting at food manufacturing expositions, meeting with experts such as importers, exporters, distributors and manufacturers.  These are the future customers for US blueberries and ingredients.

  • Cambodia is a nation of about 16 million
  • Although Cambodia is sometimes remembered as a land of turmoil and strife, it has stabilized and has become one of the leading tourist destinations in Southeast Asia with remnants of ancient civilizations, temples and a rich culinary legacy.
  • Cambodia is developing a high level urban infrastructure with modern roads, mass transit and the sign of affluence: Mega Malls and grocery stores.
  • The country has a well educate hard working labor pool which has drawn major Asian and European companies into the region to develop factories that can capitalize on the abundant raw materials.
  • Although a poor country overall, there is a rising middle class and wealthy upper class with spending power.    
  • Cambodians are a nation of "foodies" and some say their local cuisine is one of the most sophisticated on earth with multiple spices, and classical French influence from colonial Indo-China days.  

Here are some views of the New Pnom Penh:

Religion is everywhere.   Streets are immaculate.  Gourmet Cambodian meals can be enjoyed at roadside stands.  Make sure to try the curry catfish!!! If you look beyond the temple you will see a new 5-star hotel and shopping complex.

Time for shopping.   Most stores are local chains, and are modeled after Singapore and Hong Kong markets.  They include smaller malls and include first class bakeries where you can get a world-class French baguette!

Cambodia is a fruit consuming country and the aroma of durian is everywhere.  Despite all of the fruit in the country you will find imported juices everywhere as well as sweet jams, jellies and preserves.   

Here is the inside of one of the many mega malls in Phnom Penh. 

Time for the CamFood Expo.  This is a very new concept in Cambodia.  With a booming high-end tourist traffic, the country is moving to increase quality of local goods and also ease up import requirements.    

Here is the USA Pavilion.   For now it is mainly meat and poultry.   Now US ingredient companies are trickling in to grab first dibs on the food and hotel supply.   We met with importers, distributors and manufacturers.  Many will be attending the Food Ingredients Asia Expo in Jakarta in October and will stop and visit the USHBC booth.  

Japanese and Korean companies such as Kewpie (mayonnaise) are now established in Cambodia.  Khon Ghuan -- a large Malaysian biscuit company opened manufacturing operations in Cambodia.   It is a matter of time before the big Korean companies arrive!

What Next?  Cambodia is on our radar screen.   We see immediate opportunities for fresh and frozen polybag for hotel and restaurant trades which in turn are give exposure to the population.   We are seeing baking, dairy and confectionery operations starting up in Cambodia and the food industry is also a long term target.  With a USHBC FoodTech positioning in the region -- we can easily asses and service  these new markets and get in at the start of something special!

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