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Seafood processors seeking new routes to market for produce   2010-01-21 - VietNamNet/SGTT

Seafood processors are saying that making safer and higher quality products is not difficult but their biggest concern is how to get their products to the consumers.


As it stands, supermarket remains the only distribution channel for processed seafood


Nguyen Thi Hai, the owner of Hanoi Supermarket Chain said that consumers nowadays have high requirements for  the quality of products. Therefore, consumers only pay money for the seafood products which can meet strict requirements on food hygiene and safety during the production and distribution. Meanwhile, only 10 percent of suppliers of seafood to supermarkets have HACCP certificates (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points)


Most producers say that to date, supermarkets remain their only distribution channel simply because distributors have good preservation facilities, including pasteurization machines and cold storage system.


However, the problem is that supermarkets are located mostly in big cities and urban areas, which mean that consumers in rural areas and remote areas cannot purchase the products.


Le Thi Thanh Lam, deputy general director of SGFisco, said the company once made heavy investment in upgrading shops and running a cold store, but it was ineffective.


Lam said that seafood products need to be preserved under strict conditions, which made the low profits not enough to cover expenses.


“The five percent profit would be enough for selling dried products, but we need to obtain 10-15 percent for seafood, because the electricity bill alone gobbles up 10 percent,” she said, adding that a profit of 10-15 percent is currently unfeasible


A cold store costs just five to ten million dong, but the cost of electricity to run the cold store is very big. That explains why small scale agents do not want to keep cold stores.


Joining forces the best solution?


Seafood producers have decided that they need to join forces to settle the problem and boost sales. Having realized that consumers nowadays want to purchase many things at the same time when they go shopping, they have decided to put products on sale together.


The HCM City Food Company and Vissan have shaken hands on a deal to open three convenience stores where the products of both the companies are sold. Other companies such as Cau Tre, Phu An Sinh and SGFisco now also want to put their products on sale at the stores


Lam of SGFisco related that in late 2008, her company once planned to cooperate with a cream cake maker in HCM City to build up the retail chain. However, the plans were delayed due to the economic downturn.

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