UPV-TTBDO Mussel Sauce Team Explores Fermented Fish Sauce Industry in Vietnam: Insights from Mai Huong Fish Sauce Company Limited and Kim Ngu Fish Sauce Trade & Produce Co., Ltd

UPV-TTBDO Mussel Sauce Team Explores Fermented Fish Sauce Industry in Vietnam: Insights from Mai Huong Fish Sauce Company Limited and Kim Ngu Fish Sauce Trade & Produce Co., Ltd

The UPV-TTBDO Mussel Sauce team embarked on a benchmarking activity within the vibrant Phan Thiet City in Binh Thuan province, Vietnam on March 12-14, 2024. Aside from its agricultural prowess and culinary heritage, Vietnam is widely known for its salt-fermented fish industry in Asia. 

The activity aims to gather relevant information about the existing practices for producing safe and quality fish sauce products. Specifically, it aims to determine the following: sustainability in the acquisition of raw materials, the intricate processing steps, and the strategic aspects of marketing and distribution. This information is critical to improving the mussel sauce technology in UP Visayas.

The team first visited Mai Huong Fish Sauce Company Limited, which has been in the fish sauce industry for over 25 years. Mr. Pham Cao Khoung, the director, provided the team with the operational and marketing aspects of the company. According to Mr. Khoung, the company stands as a testament to Vietnam's commitment in producing quality and safe fermented fish products. Mr. Khoung underscored the stringent monitoring mechanisms implemented to ensure the quality of fish sauce—a cornerstone of Vietnamese cuisine. Notably, he emphasized the pivotal role played by regulatory bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which has championed global food safety through the Codex Alimentarius. 

"Traditional Taste, Modern Standards" is the motto embraced by Kim Ngu Fish Sauce Trade & Produce Co., Ltd., highlighting their commitment to blending traditional flavors with modern standards. Originating from a family lineage spanning four generations dedicated to crafting premium fish sauce, this company prides itself on its heritage. Highlighting two key natural ingredients intrinsic to Vietnam's renowned fish sauce—fresh anchovies and locally produced sea salt—the company emphasizes their unwavering dedication to quality and authenticity. The company existed for 16 years now and prides itself with ISO 22000:2005 certification. Mrs. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Xuan Diem, the director, welcomed the UPV-TTBDO team together with her staff.

The team also visited the local fish port which is strategically located near the Phu Hai Fish Sauce Processing Zone. 

Currently, UPV-TTBDO is implementing a DOST-PCAARRD-funded project titled “Product Process Optimization at Up-Scale Production and Market Planning for Low Salt-Fermented Mussel (Perna viridis) Sauce” under the leadership of Dr. Reynold D. Tan. This 18-month study generally aims to evaluate the process efficiency, product cost and market promotion strategies for low-salt fermented mussel sauce. 

The benchmarking activity was made possible through Lorenzana Food Corporation (LFC). UPV and LFC inked a collaborative research agreement (CRA) on April 11, 2023, with Chancellor Clement Camposano and President Jose Luis Yulo as respective representatives.  Under this CRA, LFC shall assist in improving the attributes of mussel sauce as well as in conducting a consumer acceptability test to their target market.

Present during the benchmarking activity were TTBDO Director and project leader, Dr. Reynold D. Tan, University Researcher Ms. Ernestina M. Peralta, Ms. Ruby P. Napata and Mr. Ariel S. Sefil from Institute of Fisheries Policy and Development Studies (CFOS), and Asst. Prof. Frediezel G. De Leon from the College of Management.

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