Spain seeks to export high-end foods to Vietnam

By Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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Fourteen producers of Spanish specialties displayed specialty foods in Ho Chi Minh City early this month in an effort to connect with local firms to expand their business in Vietnam.
The first official exhibition of foods and Spanish delicacies ever held in Vietnam featured a range of Spanish delicacies, including Iberico ham, free-range Iberian pork, olive oil, suckling lamb, marinated fish, fruit juices, preserves, chocolate and sweets, etc.
Chef Mateu Batista was on site to demonstrate how to prepare a variety of Spanish dishes.
The event, held at the Caravelle Hotel, was jointly presented by the Economic and Commercial Office of the Embassy of Spain in Vietnam and the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade.
The Spanish chef, who works seasonally among Spain and Asian countries, is the executive chef in Itaca Restaurant Phu Quoc, Vietnam.
Rafael de Sus, export manager of Pastores Grupo Cooperativo - Europe´s largest lamb production cooperative and a participant at the exhibition, said the group is looking to expand its sales of lamb , including the well-known Agnei Iberico, to Vietnam.
“We think Vietnam is developing very fast and the people are looking for high-quality western products,” he told Thanh Nien News.
“We have business in Hong Kong and Dubai. We thought: why not head to Vietnam and Korea? This is the next step in our strategy.”
The event attracted many local firms, including major foreign food distributors in Vietnam.
Huynh Thi Nuong, general director of the Ho Chi Minh City-based food supplier Hoang Lan Trading Company, said Vietnam is a promising market for Spanish specialties.
“I think many locals will enjoy Spanish specialties like Iberico pork and lamb. Such products are enjoyed while drinking,” she told Thanh Nien News.
"I am studying if they would export a small consignment to use as a test of the market."
According to the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, agriculture and food is the first industry in Spain, topping revenues of 78,164 million euros (US$97.5 billion) last year, equal to eight percent of the country’s GDP.
The country exports 20 percent of its food production, making it the leading producer and exporter of fruits and vegetables, table olives and olive oil and the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of preserved fish and seafood.
This summer, Vietnam became the top destination for Spanish tourists, worldwide. 

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