Packed with promise
Vietnam is a growing market for DMK. The local sales team now has more manpower for a closer and more targeted focus.

Tropics, temples, a turbulent past and a rich culture: Vietnam, known for misty mountains, forests and tropical beaches, matters ever more to DMK as a key strategic market. Located centrally in Southeast Asia, it is the ideal place to do business throughout the region. Vietnam is shaped a little like a bamboo pole holding two rice bowls: To the north and south are two fertile river deltas packed with rice fields, while central Vietnam is narrower, drier and full of forest and mountains. Bordering Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the South China Sea, Vietnam is not only strategically well placed for DMK, but its growing population of 100 million also offers significant potential.

Profitable growth

“Vietnam has the third-largest population in the region after Indonesia and the Philippines,” says Tom Groot, GM DMK Asia Pacific & America. “Its GDP is growing, it is relatively stable and it has a free trade agreement with the EU. All good reasons to enter the market.” Seven DMK employees are based in an office in Ho Chi Min City, formerly known as Saigon, where they market and distribute the Oldenburger and Oldenburger Professional brands. They are activating the products for customers and consumers and preparing the launch of DMK Baby products in 2024.

Local power

“The team works day and night to get our products on the shelves of stores nationwide, ensure they reach food service channels and raise awareness of our Oldenburger brand,” Groot says. Impeccable local distribution is the key to success, he adds. It also proved crucial to adapt to local tastes. “That’s why we sell dairy products from Germany along with products that are made locally by a third-party partner.” They sell the products at PoS and also online. The team works with regional distributors, DMK in Germany and local producers in Vietnam.

Specialist support

For Tom Groot, the advantages of a strong DMK presence in Vietnam are obvious especially given the local and cultural differences compared to Germany. DMK wants and needs its branch so it is closer to the market because “it’s not easy to really find a connection in Vietnam as a European,” he says. Groot, a market expert, says it is better to learn about cultural differences and customs through direct contact with local people. That is why DMK employs local staff who know the market, the region and all that is unique in the area. “That removes most of the hurdles,” and gives DMK a clear picture, he says. The company has learned that its products are mainly consumed by working mothers aged between 25 and 40, who have children aged between 3 and 10. Meanwhile the main target group among professionals are chefs who specialize in European dishes and those who love homecooked food. Generally, people prefer UHT milk that is sweetened. So far, DMK is already the market leader in the mozzarella segment. German products enjoy a very good reputation in Vietnam, a fact underlined by the slogan “German Dairy Excellence” for Oldenburger and Oldenburger Professional products.

“The team works day and night to place our products on shelves.”

Tom Groot, GM DMK Asia Pacific & Americas.
Tom Groot, GM DMK Asia Pacific & Americas.

Geschmacksvorlieben im Visier

Die Anpassung der Produkte an den lokalen Geschmack ist ein wichtiger Punkt, den Groot und sein Team bei ihrer Arbeit berücksichtigen müssen – mit allen Vor- und Nachteilen. „Die Vietnamesen haben eine Vorliebe für gesüßte H-Milch,“ sagt Groot „sodass wir uns entschieden haben, dieses Produkt unter unserer Marke Oldenburger mit einem lokalen Partner zu produzieren.“ In jedem Gebiet des Landes existiert ein Vertriebspartner für Einzelhandel oder Foodservice. So ist eine enge Abstimmung mit dem Büro in Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt zum Ausschöpfen von Absatzpotenzialen gesichert.

Empathie und Respekt als Basis

Auch privat empfindet Tom Groot Vietnam als ein sehr sicheres und freundliches Land. „Man wird immer herzlich mit einem Lächeln empfangen und ich liebe diese fantastische, geschmacklich so vielfältige Küche.“ Das Ankommen in einer anderen Gesellschaft und Kultur sei spannend, aber nicht immer einfach. „Es ist schwierig, den Vietnamesen wirklich nahe zu kommen, da sie zwar sehr freundlich, aber auch ziemlich distanziert und konservativ sind“, sagt er. Eines habe ihm allerdings immer weitergeholfen, egal wo er auf der Welt war: „Der respektvolle Umgang mit meinem Gegenüber – der öffnet immer die meisten Türen.“