The Philippines had bagged $44-million worth of negotiated sales and received 540 inquiries during a food show in the West Coast of the United States, which the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has the makings of a potential regional market for food products.
Philippine specialty food makers participated in the 41st Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) on January 17 to 19, which is the largest food and beverage trade show in the US West Coast, according to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Under the general brand Food Philippines for easier recognition, some 17 home grown food makers that joined the trade fair promoted premium quality processed fruits, frozen and canned tuna, ethnic food, condiments, sauces and mixes and snacks.
Trade Commissioner Nicanor Bautista said the 540 inquiries and $44 million in negotiated sales were a record for the Philippines in the three years since taking part in the WFFS.
He said specialty food products are gaining the attention of major American importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers.
Such development underscored the potential of the West Coast as a market for Philippine food products, he added.
“Given the warm reception social enterprises and their specialty food products received 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,” Rosvi C. Gaetos, CITEM executive director, said.
“We are also considering a participation 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,” the CITEM official added.
CITEM said the best-selling items at the show were virgin coconut oil (VCO), coconut sugar, frozen tuna, banana chips, frozen saba or cooking bananas, organic muscovado sugar, upland and Jasponica rice, and sea salts.
Buyers were mostly looking for natural, organic, fair trade, and healthy products that meet international standards.
Food Philippines is a branding initiative of the DTI-CITEM which serves to unify the promotional efforts of the government in overseas trade exhibitions and events to project one brand, one image, and one voice.