Philippine food brand generates strong interest from US buyers
MANILA, Philippines—Food Philippines, the country’s national brand for its food exports, made waves in the country’s first participation in the Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) in San Francisco, USA, the Department of Trade and Industry reported on Wednesday.
During the three-day event held earlier this month, the Philippine delegation received warm reception from the US media and from big premium specialty food chains supplying natural and organic food products, as it registered about 330 buyer inquiries and more than 200 buyer visits.
Potential export orders of about $10 million have been generated during the show by the exhibiting Philippine companies, according to Malou D. Mediran, deputy executive director of the DTI’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem).
“Our excellent preparation in our booths, our promotional materials and, of course, the food products that we brought meant that this activity is a serious investment for us. More importantly, the Philippine participation in the WFFS has opened the eyes of the US and North American markets that our country can be a reliable source of healthy, natural and organic specialty premium products,” Mediran said.
“Our theme Natural, Organic and Heritage suits the US market because consumers there are now looking for products that are not only of premium quality, but natural and organic as well,” added Citem executive director Rosvi C. Gaestos.
A number of specialty food products from the Philippines generated serious interest from a number of large importers in the US. These products include the cacao-made single-origin chocolate of Malagos Agri-Venture Corp.; banana chips and nata de coco of Prime Fruits International Inc.; the steamed Filipino rice cake instant mixes of JNRM Corp.; and the edible Roselle (gumamela) flower of Herbanext Laboratories, Inc.
Food Philippines featured 10 top food exporters and manufacturers that occupied the 16 booths of the Philippine Pavilion at the South Hall of the Moscone Center.
The Malagos cacaos, which are used by famous chocolate company Mars, have fascinated a certain premium specialty food chain in the US because of Malagos Agri-Venture’s advocacy for sustainable agriculture practices in the production of natural and organic food.
After participating in the WFFS, the Philippine business delegation proceeded to a selling mission to Los Angeles on Jan. 22-24. It was highlighted by a press conference, meetings with selected importers and store visits and a one-day business matching event on Jan. 24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Mediran said, “The exporters were very happy with the overall market response to the products they brought to the US, as well as the support they got from the government, through DTI-Citem.”
“The exporters are highly appreciative of the efforts of the government in helping SMEs promote their products in the global market, which they cannot undertake on their own because of the cost of investments required,” Mediran added.—Amy R. Remo