For RMIT Vietnam student Ngo Hong Ngoc, a serious bout of food poisoning in Dalat reinforced her commitment to provide safe food to consumers.
The twenty-two year old Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) student and owner of Meo Strawberry Da Lat (Dau Meo Da Lat) started her business on a sour note.
“I went to Da Lat to find business partners and suppliers, and I tried different types of strawberries ranging from 30,000 VND to 300,000 VND per kilogram,” Ngoc said.
“Then I suffered from high fever, vomiting, and a serious stomach-ache for five days.
“The doctor concluded that I was poisoned with pesticides and harmful preservatives from the strawberries.”
The profound lesson that she learned was that customers cannot distinguish between clean and dirty food by sight or taste alone. Safety is totally dependent on the integrity of the food supplier.
After this incident Ngoc became even more determined to supply real, safe strawberries.
At first, she was the only person who carried out Dau Meo’s mission of supplying safe and fresh food to customers. She did everything from negotiating with suppliers to purchasing to packing to marketing and even shipping.
Now the small business employs three staff and generates a stable revenue every month.
The company positions its strawberries as fresh and safe, and serves young families who care about and can afford safe food. A large proportion of Dau Meo’s customers are pregnant women.
To satisfy increasing customer demand, Ngoc has recently expanded the product offering to include strawberries from Korea and cherries from the USA and Canada.
Reflecting on her dual roles as entrepreneur and student, Ngoc said: “It was very challenging for me to run a business by myself while handling assignments and examinations at RMIT.”
A foodie, Ngoc applied the lessons from the Professional Communication program to do advertising for food brands such as Ninh Hoa springroll and Ton Chin pomelo. This experience has helped her greatly to build the brand for Dau Meo Da Lat.
“Operating my own business has been the best practice for what I learned at RMIT Vietnam,” Ngoc concluded.
Story: Van Doan