Customers at Co.op Mart supermarket in HCM City (Photo: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNA) - Quality assurance is the first factor that enables a product to enter supermarkets, delegates told a recent discussion on bringing goods into the modern retail channel held in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Vu Thuan, food merchandise director of MM Mega Market, said goods must ensure traceability of their origin and farm produce and fresh products must meet VietGap, Global Gap and HACCP standards.

Firms that want to supply supermarkets need to understand retailers’ business strategy as well as who their customers are to determine which products are suitable for supply, he said.

Businesses should sit down with retailers to negotiate and make joint business plans like producing retailers’ own brands instead of just focusing on their products, he said.

Pham Thi Ngoc Ha, director of San Ha Company, which has over 30 years’ experience in the meat industry, said the company used to make products for Vissan in the early stages.

It also focused on developing its own brands, she said.

During the co-operation with Vissan, her company got plenty of experience in production and trading, which greatly contributes to its current success, she said.

Tran Van Lieng, chairman of Vinacacao, said if small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have innovative and unique products, the modern trade channel should be their target.

He also shared his experience in developing co-branded products for Lotte and Starbucks, saying this is a good chance for a company to promote its brand.

Thuan said MM Mega Market wants to co-operate with suppliers and partners to serve its horeca (hotels, restaurants and catering) customers, mom and pop stores, large offices and manufacturers.

It also wants to partner with enterprises to produce exclusive products, he said.

Businesses will have the opportunity to export their products through Thailand’s TCC group, which owns MM Mega Market, he said.

Four containers of farm produce like dragon fruit and sweet potato are being shipped to Thailand every month, and more Vietnamese farm produce would be consumed in that market in future, he said.

The supermarket prefers to source from businesses that produce sustainably, he said.

It has co-operated with more than 650 farmers so far, offering them market information, advice and technical support to get VietGap certification, and buying large volumes regularly at steady prices, he said.

Tran Le Thuy Trang of Nguyen Tat Thanh University said supermarkets are now very supportive of small businesses, but the latter must offer good quality products and steady supply.

Producers at the event also complained about the long time supermarkets take to make payment, causing difficulties for small firms.

Thuan said the supermarket has different payment policies for different suppliers based on scale and business segment, adding for SMEs supplying fresh food, payment is made in five, seven or 10 days.

Some delegates said distributors’ payment policy would be hard to change, and the Government should set up a fund to support firms supplying modern distribution systems.-VNA