Startup sales mushroom as they adapt to ensure survival

09:00 | 10/03/2022 Companies

(VEN) - The Emmay and Colleagues Joint Stock Company was established in 2017, with its Smiling Mushrooms brand specializing in the production of instant processed meat substitutes and other protein foods from mushrooms. Like other businesses, the company was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but has adapted quickly and seized opportunities to access new markets.

Vegetarian food

Smiling Mushroom's customers are urban, high-income consumers, 85 percent of them women. The company has launched distinctive products, such as plant-based meat and food made from mushroom protein, targeting 20-55 vegetarians and dieters concerned about their health and the environment.

Emmay’s distribution strategy is both B2B and B2C, via both online and offline channels. So far, the company has established 230 retail points, seven distributors and compiled 800 end-consumers data.

A product of the Emmay and Colleagues JSC

Its products are currently distributed at big supermarkets, such as Aeon Mall, Saigon Coop or BigC, and at about 200 clean food outlets. Eighty percent of the company’s revenue is derived from wholesale distributors and supermarkets.

According to Smiling Mushroom CEO, the brand is still in the early stages of food substitutes for animal meat, making it 50 to 70 percent more expensive than animal meat. For example, a 200-gram bag of vegetable “meat” costs VND130,000. However, once the products’ production scale and popularity increase, the selling prices will gradually decrease. In addition, the company has launched other plant-based products to replace animal meat in Vietnam and other markets like Singapore, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Product development

In the post-COVID-19 period, Vietnamese businesses face difficulty accessing short-term foreign capital. However, during this transition process from a small to a larger enterprise, CEO Pham Van signed up to participate in the WISE Accelerator, a program supporting women-led start-ups with the goal of expanding globally. After joining WISE Accelerator, Van now has potential investors who linked Emmay with a venture platform that supports investments in technology startups to solve Asia Pacific's major unresolved problems.

In mid-2021, at the Virtual Investment Day event organized by the ThinkZone Foundation, Emmay called for a venture investment of at least US$1.5 million for product research and development (R&D), sales, marketing, and personnel. The company expects to increase sales to US$4.5 million in the next two years.

According to Pham Hong Quat, Director of the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (Ministry of Science and Technology), all young startups around the world have been affected by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and the Vietnamese are no exceptions. Although Vietnamese startups were unable to organize large events to raise capital, they maximized the potential of online business connections. As a result, venture capital for Vietnam's innovative startups skyrocketed in 2021, reflecting their resilience, dynamism and breakthrough capacities.

The project on facilitating the national startup ecosystem until 2025 presented in Decision No. 844/QD-TTg

(Project 844) aims to develop the market for innovative start-ups. The industry and trade newspaper has been

acting as a bridge to support these start-ups, help them expand markets and contribute to their business

efficiency.

Hai Yen