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Trung Nguyen Coffee Eyeing the International Market

Vietnam is now one of the world's top coffee exporters.

While some local companies shake in their boots as Starbucks gears up to enter the Vietnamese market, the country’s largest coffee grower, Trung Nguyen, is taking the offensive and setting its sights on the international coffee market.

According to Reuters, even though Vietnam is a top producer of robusta coffee beans, 90% of these are raw, carry no brand name and are shipped overseas for packaging a processing. In short, Vietnam is leaving a stack of money on the table, earning only a small fraction of the total income generated by the crop. Dang Le Nguyen Vu, Vietnam’s “Coffee King,” says that if packaging and processing were done in Vietnam, coffee revenues, which currently sit around US$3 billion, could hit US$20 billion by 2027.

Vu also sees an opportunity to weaken Starbuck’s grasp on the global market by offering better tasting coffee:

They are great at implanting a story in consumers' minds but if we look into the core elements of Starbucks, what they are doing is terrible. They are not selling coffee, they are selling coffee-flavoured water with sugar in it.


Beyond shitty coffee, Vu thinks that even tough Starbucks may trumpet sustainable development, they only care about maximizing profits. In his mind, Trung Nguyen’s links to the people of Vietnam’s coffee-growing highlands is the kind of tangible, human story that appeals to western consumers.

To read more about Trung Nguyen’s challenges in taking on global coffee brands, head over to Reuters.

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