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Ben Tre Company Eyes International Vietnamese Coconut Water Sales

A Mekong Delta-based company is aspiring to bring Vietnamese coconut water to the world stage.

In 2015, the Ben Tre Import and Export Joint Stock Company (Betrimex) decided to channel US$22 million into establishing a factory in the province’s Giong Trom District, reports Tuoi Tre. At the moment, the company is pumping out 37 million liters of coconut products annually; the new facility could potentially amp production up to 42 million liters at maximum capacity.

The Ben Tre-based enterprise has been around for a few decades, specializing in producing coconut water and coconut milk-related creations. One of Betrimex’s key product is the bottled coconut water brand Cocoxim – currently being sold locally at VND13,000 per 330-milimeter bottle.

According to Chau Kim Yen, Betrimex’s CEO, this price has boosted the value of coconut water 300-fold compared to street side shops. Yen also added that Vietnamese coconuts have many desirable attributes compared to regional species: local coconut species have 5% more flesh and 5% more water than the global average, making them more profitable for production.

Robert Graves, director of Tetra Pak Vietnam, Betrimex’s partner, says the company has a good shot at selling Vietnamese bottled coconut water to international markets, as consumers abroad are developing a penchant for the beverage.

According to Thanh Nien, last year the world purchased some US$1 billion worth of canned coconut water, with the US and Brazil topping the list of consumption and market growth. Production-wise, Vietnam is currently 8th in the world in terms of coconut-related products at 1.2 billion coconuts per year. However, the country’s products are not highly value-added and local coconut water is not optimally utilized.

Betrimex is not the only company banking on Vietnam’s coconut industry: earlier this year, local startup Hamonareceived a US$25,000 grant from the Innovative Partnership Program (IPP), a joint project between the Finnish and Vietnamese governments. The startup hopes to act as a bridge between local coconut farmers and foreign producers.

[Photo via Thanh Nien]

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