MANILA – About 700 exhibitors participated in the International Food Exhibition held Friday in Pasay City, with local products and delicacies showing Filipino taste and culture.
The Center for International Trade and Expositions and Missions is aiming to boost the country’s export sales after posting a negative growth for the first quarter of 2023.
“We go where the buyers are. There’s this difficulty of SMEs to go individually, we ask the market to come. We still have programs participating abroad. We had one in Feb, Dubai, another one will be in China. While we have locally-held international shows, we also have overseas fair participations where we bring them kasi Iba Rin Yung face-to-face with the market. But we also have digitalization efforts,” said IFEX Philippines Project Manager Rowena Mendoza.
Among the products on exhibit were veggie chips. Locally produced fruits and vegetables are vacuum-fried instead of fried, to retain nutrients.
Arturo Tabbu, general manager of Lighthouse Cooperative manufactures chicha-matis or tomato chips. He said theirs is a solution to the perennial issue of oversupply during harvest season.
“We chose to go through the process because we wanted to help the farmers. It’s a common observation during the season, there’s oversupply at nasisira lang so dear ‘yon ba?” Tabbu said.
The food industry was also hit with a spike in wheat and flour prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As an alternative to imported flour, banana flour is being manufactured in General Santos City.
Manufacturer Rowell Tan said banana flour can be used in baking and as breading.
“Baka pwede nating ma-compete ang imported flour dito sa Philippines. Para mabigyan ng chance ang farmers natin. Sana mabigyan ang manufacturers who help, pwede nating mapantayan o mababa ang price ng imported flour,” Tan said.
Market research conducted by global market intelligence agency Mintelin in Southeast Asia showed food trends continue to favor sustainability and health.
“Sustainability is only going to evolve and become more important around the world. Some of the questions we ask Filipino consumers are what factors they consider when shopping for food. Ingredients, natural products are what consumers are increasingly looking for,” Mintel head of commercial for Southeast Asia Nick Brown said.
He added that more consumers are patronizing products that use sustainable materials in their packaging.