Lao-made products fail to find favour with consumers
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos produces several well-known items, but local people have little interest in buying these products and eschew them in favour of imported goods.
It will be a challenge to persuade people to change their ways as they have become accustomed to seeing these imported products on shop shelves and in markets and are not well disposed to using similar items that are made in Laos. Any change in consumer habits is going to take a long time.
Consumers on the lookout for new products need to study the quality and price of goods by comparing locally made and imported items. If the quality of locally-made products is good and the price is reasonable, people may try buying and using both to test them out. If the products are good and are reasonably priced, people will keep on using them. If not, they won’t buy them again because these days consumers have a range of options.
Laos is now producing food items, beverages and other goods, several of which have won ISO certification. The quality is such that quite a lot of foreigners like Lao products, but in general Lao people continue to prefer imported products.
Lao coffee has won acclaim among coffee drinkers in several countries to which it is exported, with plantations in Champassak province being the main source of this popular beverage.
But why is it that at important meetings and workshops held in this country the items served to participants, such as instant coffee, sweet goods and fruits – are always imported products? Where are the Lao products and sweets? It’s always imported items that appear on tables at these events.
There’s also the matter of gift baskets, which inevitably contain imported goods and possibly a few Lao items as well. Why don’t Lao people promote Lao people here? This is something that needs thinking about.
When attending meetings in Vientiane, it’s always imported products that are served up to participants. Some people must question this and wonder why there aren’t more locally-made items. They may think it’s because the quality of Lao products is inferior or that the items served at important events are provided by the producer. It’s possible that a company that makes instant coffee may have occasionally provided their products at an important event, but why do they always appear on the table?
It shouldn’t be difficult to encourage people to use locally-made products. We need to run an active campaign and use different approaches to focus attention on Lao goods so that they become well-known and win the hearts of local consumers.
The quality of Lao-made products is high and the cost is about the same as or less than comparable items that are imported. But, unfortunately, while ever imported products are cheaper and of good quality, a large number of people will buy them in preference to locally-made products.
Quite a few Lao products cost more than imported products, which is a deterrent to boosting sales as they won’t gain popularity unless they compare favourably in price.
Publicity campaigns will fail so long as the price of locally-made products is high and the quality is perceived to be low compared to imported products. A large number of people will continue to use imported products of good quality because they are also cheap.
But we do need to join forces to turn the situation around for the benefit of our country and the Lao people. This will result in more people earning an income as well as sparking creativity when it comes to new product ideas. Lao people can make several products in the country and we should promote our products, such as sweets to eat with coffee and tea. We should all be eating Lao sweets instead of imported confectionery. Important events and workshops should serve up Lao sweets to guests in order to promote our culture and products.
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