Vietnamese rice labeled with foreign names sells better than domestic brands


Vietnamese choose foreign rice not because the latter is better, but because Vietnamese enterprises don’t know how to build their brands, experts say.

According to VIBIZ, the market research and analysis website owned by Global Yoilo JSC, 64 percent of rice in the domestic market is Vietnamese but is labeled as foreign rice so that sellers can make higher profits.

Meanwhile, 53 percent of consumers say they like foreign rice grown in Thailand, Cambodia and Japan.

Vietnamese choose foreign rice not because the latter is better, but because Vietnamese enterprises don’t know how to build their brands

A report of the company said of the 67 rice products in the domestic market, only 21 products are given Vietnamese names.

Nguyen Van Nam, a renowned economist, and former head of the Trade Research Institute, said the report does not surprise him.

However, he believes that the problem is not the low quality of Vietnam’s products, but the branding strategy followed by Vietnamese enterprises.

“Vietnam has many new tasty rice varieties which have high quality, but they are little known,” he said.

“Vietnamese know ‘Tam thom’ and ‘Dien Bien rice’, but they don’t know there are many new varieties which are in no way inferior to them,” he said.

Nam said naming rice varieties with foreign names will arouse consumers’ curiosity.

An analyst said Vietnam’s rice doesn’t have fame in the domestic market because of bad marketing and branding, not because of low quality.

Since Vietnam’s rice products still don’t have strong brands, they have to ‘take a detour’ to approach Vietnamese consumers.

“Vietnamese prefer foreign rice because they hear Thai and Japanese farmers grow rice with high technologies,” he explained. “They have no information about how rice is grown in Vietnam.”

“Therefore, merchants give foreign names to Vietnam’s rice to sell more products,” he said, adding that Vietnam only imports rice from Cambodia and Thailand in small quantities.

Tran Duy Quy, former head of the Institute of Agricultural Genetics of Vietnam, confirmed that Vietnam has been importing rice from Cambodia and Thailand, but in small quantities. As for the so called ‘Japanese rice’, this is Vietnam’s rice labeled as Japanese rice.

“There are many Vietnamese rice varieties which are tastier than the Japanese varieties,” he said.

Japanese rice is more expensive than Vietnamese, priced at VND200,000 per kilo.

Vietnam has the best rice genetic resources in the world and its farmers grow rice with high technology and follow strict production procedure, he said.


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