Vietnamese pangasius player Godaco is planning to launch a brand in 2017, having been awarded four Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) stars.
The firm had previously told Undercurrent News it intended to apply for the BAP Global Aquaculture Alliance certifications by the end of 2016 -- executive director Jonathan Wilson has now confirmed this has been achieved.
"Having the hatchery, farm, processing and feed mill certified means access to new markets in North America and Europe," he said.
Meeting the firm at Vietfish 2016 in August, Wilson had indicated the firm wanted to expand sales in Europe and the US, but that BAP certification would be required.
"Now we can give customers assurance that our products enhance their brands, and can be a key link in protecting their reputation in the market," he said in November.
The certification comes in time for Godaco to plan its brand launch for "natural fillets, as well as cooked and value-added products", in 2017.
Back in August the first products were coming off the lines of Godaco's newly-opened value-added plant – tempura pangasius, for a customer in Europe.
The brand "is key for us to work with large retailers and foodservice companies, as we can demonstrate commitment to sustainability and quality throughout the value chain", said Wilson.
With its certification, Godaco is just the second four-star BAP pangasius company in Vietnam. Vinh Hoan became the first in 2015.
"We had the ambition to create a brand structure, but we knew that we needed to have something more to offer than pretty packages and nice names," Wilson said of the timing of this brand launch.
"So, we had taken the decision to develop our sustainability and quality credentials as a first start. That way, our brand promise has some real substantial promise behind it."
Of the new VAP plant in Ben Tre, Vietnam, Wilson said the plan was to start with pangasius, before moving on to breaded shrimp and Nobashi stretched shrimp too.
In August, three frying lines were installed in addition to the tempura line, able to handle part- or fully-cooked breaded items, with further space to process shrimp, salmon or Alaska pollock.
“We have the capability to produce a range of 'oven ready' and 'flash-fried', partially cooked products, for a range of foodservice and retail customers,” said Wilson.
“We have had interest in producing breaded and tempura products from North America and Japan, as well as Europe and the Middle East.”
The new plant is designed with flexibility in mind, and depending on product mix, should be able to produce 15,000-20,000 metric tons of cooked products a year.