NutiFood Joint Stock Company has "got the visa" to the US after more than one year of negotiating with Delori Foods (USA) and working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain a certificate and investing about US$1 million into upgrading its equipment.
Road to America
By April, NutiFood’s Pedia Plus will be available at more than 300 supermarkets in California, the strongest market of Delori's. As estimated, NutiFood’s export turnover during the first year in the US would hit US$20 million and will skyrocket to US$100 million a year within the next half-decade.
In the search for dairy products that meet the diverse and different needs of this market, Delori met Tran Thanh Hai, NutiFood’s Chairman, and General Director Tran Thi Le. NutiFood has caught Delori’s eyes with its first ranking specialty dairy products in Vietnam, such as NutiFit for obese children or Pedia Plus for children with anorexia.
Especially, NutiFood has built and developed a special milk product for anorexia, which it has been producing and growing in the US market for many years.
Le Nguyen Hoa, NutiFood's vice president, said: “Every enterprise would seize the chance to expand their export markets and NutiFood is no exception.”
Meeting FDA’s strict standards was NutiFood's biggest obstacle in getting a visa to the US. "At first, we thought it would be easy because the Pedia Plus factory in Binh Duong is very modern. However, with Pedia Plus being a low-acid culinary product, America's most tightly controlled milk category, things were not as we predicted, " Hoa noted.
The Vietnam-based beverage company has spent 6 months and US$1 million to upgrade the factory, production lines, as well as human resources to meet the standards set by FDA.
Things have just started
Things have just started for NutiFood. In order to expand production for domestic as well as export demand, the company is investing about US$88 million to open a new factory in Song Than 3 Industrial Park and expand the factory in Hung Yen. If things go well, these two plants will be completed by the end of 2018 (NutiFood currently has 3 factories in Binh Duong, Hung Yen, and Gia Lai, and one factory under construction in Ha Nam).
After Pedia Plus, NutiFood can bring Aloe Vera yogurt products to the US. At first, Delori was extremely impressed with the taste and quality of this yogurt. However, due to poor storage conditions, exports could not be implemented. NutiFood does not want to give up and is considering the construction of a yoghurt factory in the United States.
In addition to the US, NutiFood is promoting exports to other Asian markets such as the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and China. In the Philippines, NutiFood's Enplus ranked third with a revenue of US$1 million per year in the patient dairy segment.
NutiFood gradually setting its course
Recalling its history of business investments, NutiFood has had many handshakes, with many mistakes.
The biggest mistake of NutiFood was to shake hands with Kinh Do in 2007 to launch a nutrition pie brand. However, NutiFood got involved in financial and real estate investments with Kinh Do. In 2008, the financial market declined and NutiFood lost VND45 billion.
Hoa affirmed that NutiFood is the first dairy processing enterprise in Vietnam, overcoming multinational competitors in the field specific treatment milk.
All in all, Delori and NutiFood seem to be a match made in heaven, however, it has yet to be seen how they will co-operate and how long the partnership will stand.