S06E010: Nancy Tran, Co-founder & CEO, Medifood, Vietnam

During my university time, I did a lot of volunteer work. One of it was a chance to go to the Mekong Delta and I had a chance to speak to the farmers at the delta. They were doing unsustainable farming and the soil was really bad. A lot of the farmers had cancer and it made me concerned. I started thinking that we need to make a change. 

nancy tran

Today’s episode is with Nancy Tran of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

She is the co-founder and CEO of Medifood, a company that started by supplying organic vegetables on a subscription basis to producing healthy rice crispy snacks that are sold via subscription boxes. 

nancy tran medifood vietnam organic rice snacks
“Dream don’t work, unless you do” says Nancy Tran of Medifood, Vietnam

Besides producing for Vietnam, her rice crispy snacks are now available in North America.

Prior to founding the business, Nancy was a market analyst at VNDIRECT Securities and marketing team lead at VEAS Exhibition & Advertising Services with a focus on developing markets such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in the agriculture sector. 

She recalls that she took on the advertising services role because she needed to learn about the agriculture sector more deeply. She needed the network and connections to enable her to gain more insights into a sector she had no experience in. (At that time, she had already started her business of supplying organic vegetables to supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City except that she had underpriced her produce by 60%. This meant she wasn’t making much money.)

Nancy started Medifood in 2016 because she was passionate about healthy eating and helping Vietnamese farmers earn a better living except that she didn’t know a thing about agriculture and organic farming.

All of the people I met at that time gave me the experience and a lot of lessons learnt through those experiences. If I didn’t do what I did, then I don’t have the “me” right now.  

In today’s episode, she talks about the struggles of farming and why farmers ate chemical-free vegetables while they supplied chemical-laden vegetables to the market. She talks about the separate plot of land that farmers kept to grow their own organic vegetables for their family’s needs. She started by buying these organic produce and selling them to the city. 

While she grew a community of enthusiastic believers in organic farming from buyers to farmers, she couldn’t make the business work. She was underpricing her vegetables and the work was tough. In the end, she decided to pivot from her original idea to manufacturing food products using organic ingredients grown by local farmers. 

The farmers – they actually know the right way of farming that is sustainable [and chemical-free]. But the problem was the money. If you can make sure you can pay them the money and they can take care of their family, they will absolutely do what you want to do.

Today, Medifood is a platform where you buy tasty and nutritious snacks and still help local farmers sustain themselves through organic and natural farming.

Nancy says, “I am really proud that we were able to share Vietnam’s rich heritage and tradition with friends around the world through our simple snacks that are not only healthy but taste great.” She felt her most triumphant when her US team sealed “the first distributor deal for the US market.” 

She has taken a low-value childhood snack and turned it into a premium product and by doing so, “we were able to help local producers and farmers in Vietnam earn a better income.” 

Connect with her: 


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Today’s episode is sponsored by Redbox Studio.

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