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PH’s VCO, coco sugar, tuna attract interest of US firms

/ 12:40 AM February 04, 2016

Philippine firms booked over $44 million in negotiated sales at the largest food and beverage trade show in the West Coast, enabling local specialty food products to further penetrate the competitive United States market.

According to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), 17 homegrown enterprises were able to capture the interest of American firms at the 41st Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) in San Francisco, California.

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These companies, which were grouped under the “Food Philippines” brand, offered premium quality specialty food products, including processed fruits, frozen and canned tuna, ethnic food, condiments, sauces and mixes and snacks, Citem said in a statement issued yesterday.

“Food Philippines” is a branding initiative of Citem, the export promotions arm of the Department of Industry. Citem said this was meant to unify the promotional efforts of the Philippine government in overseas trade exhibitions and events in order to project just one image.

Trade Commissioner Nicanor Bautista was quoted by Citem as saying that this year was a record year for the Philippine delegation at the WFFS, with Philippine specialty food products and their social impact getting the attention of huge importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers based in the US.

Citem said the best-selling products during the trade show included virgin coconut oil (VCO), coconut sugar, frozen tuna, banana chips, frozen saba, organic muscovado sugar, upland rice and jasponica rice and sea salts. The buyers were mostly looking for natural, organic, fair trade, and healthy products in internationally-accepted packaging, which the Food Philippines pavilion offered, the agency said.

“Given the warm reception of social enterprises and their specialty food products in the WFFS, Food Philippines looks forward to the continued promotion of specialty food products with added social dimension in other food and beverage trade shows abroad,” said Citem executive director Rosvi C. Gaetos.

“We are also considering to participate in the Summer Fancy Food Show to sustain the impression we have made in WFFS, and continue positioning the Philippines as a source of high-value, fresh, healthy and natural food products,” she added. Amy R. Remo

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