03 June 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Visitors arrive in droves on the opening day of Ifex Philippines on May 24, 2019, at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

DELECTABLE, decadent and delicious.

These are just some of the flavors that describe the country’s chocolates and cacao-based products, which were showcased from May 24 to 26 at the Philippine Cacao Pavilion in Ifex Philippines NXTFOOD Asia at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City.

“Buyers and visitors from major target markets abroad were delighted with heavenly treats by makers of cacao—also known as the ‘Food of the Gods’—at the Philippine Cacao Pavilion,” said Pauline Suaco-Juan, executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the organizer of the event.

Here are seven of the newest Filipino chocolates spotted at the Philippine Cacao Pavilion:

‌68% Dark Chocolate-Mango by Auro Chocolates

Auro Chocolates presents a new experience to enjoy Philippine-sourced chocolate and mango with 100 percent of the fruit but without the added sugar. Each piece of this new product is carefully freeze-dried to a crisp, giving everyone the crunch and none of the oil.

Tangy Granola with Green Mango and Cacao Nibs by Wit’s Sweets and Savouries Wit’s Sweets and Savouries prepared its Tangy Granola by combining mood-boosting cacao nibs with the tangy flavor of green mangoes to give an energizing and palatable flavor in every bite. Aside from tangy, granolas are also available in classic tasty, spicy, zesty and in coffee flavors.

‌Arabica Chocolates by Dulche Chocolates

Bringing the first chocolate brand from Benguet, Dulche Chocolates offers in its Arabica Chocolates two of the best Philippine agri-commodities from the highlands: coffee and cacao. This bitter-sweet concoction is a perfect treat for coffee lovers.

Dark Chocolate Nibs Cranberries by Chocoloco

Cacao nibs are basically the purest form of chocolate that give you more cacao bean health benefits since it undergoes less processing stages. With its Dark Chocolate Nibs, Chocoloco uses fermented cacao beans which are then perfectly roasted, cracked and coated with premium organic coconut sap sugar.

Cacao Tea by Cacao Culture

Different from the usual tablea, Cacao Culture offers Cacao Tea that is made of 100-percent cacao husk, or the outer shell of the cacao beans. The husks are from high-quality cacao beans grown, harvested and processed in Davao City—the  “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines.”

Pili Choc by MS3 Choco

Another energizing offering under the Philippine cacao pavilion is the Pili Choc by MS3 Choco made from premium cacao combined with pili nuts which are a significant source of essential minerals, proteins and vitamins.

100% Cacao Bar by Chocoliz/Saret Organic Farmville

This new offering by Chocoliz is a sugar-free, guilt-free, dark chocolate-tasting candy bar made with organic cacao grown in Luzon by Saret Organic Farmville. This chocolate bar undergoes minimal processing to retain the natural health benefits of cacao.

Minimally processed cacao helps fight against cancer, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, stress and anxiety. It is good for the brain, heart, blood and skin.

Cacao is one of the Philippines’s “Premium 7” export products and has been produced in the country since the 17th century. The Premium 7 exports include coconut, coffee, banana, pineapple, mango and tuna.

All of the three varieties of cacao beans are present and grown in the country. The majority of cocoa beans produced are mid-value Trinitario beans. Criollo beans, which are mainly from older trees, have lower yield but are still being produced while higher value varieties of Forastero beans are beginning to be planted in some local farms.

03 June 2019

By Philexport News and Features

Published also in Business Mirror

FRANCHISE owners are encouraged to expand in other Southeast Asian countries, as more Filipino brands are getting access to a larger share of the population of the region.

Eric Elnar, trade  service officer of the Foreign Trade Service Corps at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said they could use the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to penetrate the ASEAN region.

“We have an ASEAN free-trade agreement, so basically, it just says that franchising is one of the sectors that is being promoted in the ASEAN agreement. So it’s a good idea for franchise owners in the Philippines to look at expanding first in other Asean countries before you expand elsewhere,” he said.

Elnar pointed out that franchising is considered under distribution services, same with retail and wholesale services, stipulated in the packages of services commitments in ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS).

To expand presence in the ASEAN region, he said Philippine players need to consider halal certification.

Elnar cited as examples Muslim-dominated countries—Malaysia and Indonesia, where they should be “conscious” about halal requirements.

“Part of it is food that Muslims can take, so definitely no pork and then no pork derivatives, and then there’s Halal meat, so there is a lot of technical stuff that you have to learn. But basically, if you are targeting a Muslim-dominated country, you have to look for halal if your product is mainly food,” he advised.

Elnar said they have to also intensify marketing strategies, know the industry, market readiness and market size.

“If you are already planning to enter one country, make sure to register in terms of your brand first, make sure that there is no other brand that are registered, that are similar or the same as yours in that country,” he added.

ASEAN groups include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

03 June 2019

By Philexport News and Features

Published also in Business Mirror

DEMAND for fresh food is expected to increase in Thailand, as more consumers become health conscious.

The Euromonitor Digest, the online publication of the Export Marketing Bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), also noted the rise of food service operators serving less processed and more natural food options.

“As Thailand develops, consumers’ lives are becoming increasingly fast-paced, and they have little time to cook. At the same time, consumers now perceive health as a lifestyle choice, and are willing to pay for foods that offer better nutrition and fewer preservatives,” it said.

The report said fresh food is perceived as superior to packaged food, as it is lower in preservatives and fully natural. The broader availability of organic fresh food through modern grocery retailers and online channels has made it easier for consumers to consider organic options, it noted.

“Consumers are demanding convenience, affordability and nutrition, with less regard for product prices. Price is no longer the main deciding factor in the purchasing decision. Provenance, quality and nutritional benefits are accorded higher weight compared with price,” it added.

The Euromonitor Digest further said it is likely that consumers will gradually look for more convenient food products with extra health benefits. “Fresh food manufacturers are likely to respond with value-added products which speed up the food preparation process in exchange for higher price points,” it said.

The report further said consumers are choosing to eat out at organic restaurants or order healthy food delivery to justify their lack of cooking with the aim of achieving a healthy work-life balance amid busy lifestyles.

 “In this regard, more restaurants and food delivery services are meeting consumer demands by providing healthier, organic, low calorie or superfood-rich options. Hence, there is expected to be a greater need for fresh food for food service,” it added.  


03 June 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THE 13th edition of Ifex Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA recorded a successful opening on May 24 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Inaugurated by top government officials and diplomats, the event is considered the biggest gathering of delectable and export quality food finds.

Philippine food exporters are now enjoying the encouraging response of local and foreign trade buyers, foodies and consumers as the event continues to attract thousands of visitors.

Beyond efforts to expand food exports, IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA also aims to pique the interest of local consumers to appreciate the exquisite quality of Filipino offerings on a par with the world’s standards.

The event features the Islands on a Plate special setting that serves mouthwatering dishes prepared by Chef Bea Nitard of Via Mare, who lent her expertise in curating the use of Premium 7 ingredients, such as cacao, coffee, mango, tuna, banana, pineapple and coconuts.

Chef Helmut Holzer, award-winning culinary master and certified European and American Master Chef, graced IFEX Phillippines NXTFOOD Asia as a luminary guest.

27 May 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

AFTER the country’s successful participation in the Slingshot Philippines Startup Pavilion and Delegation at InnoVEX 2018, 11 start-up companies will represent the Philippine start-up community in InnoVEX 2019 to be held from May 29 to 31, 2019, at the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei City, Taiwan.

The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Taipei, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and QBO Innovation Hub, will bring the progressive start-ups and community builders that offer cutting-edge innovation in diverse and currently relevant fields such as  artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, geospatial mapping, innovative housing solutions, cyber security, smart advertising and e-commerce, education, fintech, logistics, and data science-enabled market research.

“We are very excited to support the Slingshot Philippines Startup Ecosystem Pavilion and Delegation at Innovex this year, given that technology innovation cooperation is one of our priority industry collaboration areas with Taiwan. Recognizing Taiwan’s strengths and global leadership position in electronics manufacturing and technology innovation and leveraging the Philippines’s substantial market-size, global market access, emerging innovation community and the creative talents of our globally sought-after human resource—the partnership between our startup communities will be a win-win collaboration for the two next door neighbors in today’s changing economic and technology landscape,” Meco Chairman and Resident Representative Angelito T. Banayo said.

These 11 start-ups are Antipara Exploration, Container Living Philippines, Cryptors, Gypsy, Investagrams, JazzyPay, Mober, Qwikwire, Retailgate, Rumarocket and Senti.

Antipara Exploration offers automated-data analyses in their submarine geospatial mapping technologies for the maritime industry and marine environmental mapping. In a country-archipelago such as the Philippines with more than 7,100 islands, this is a crucial homegrown technology with many important applications.

Container Living Philippines has a modular-construction approach to offer modern housing solutions using shipping containers that are disaster-resilient and highly customizable to the client’s needs.

Cryptors offers a free mobile app that can detect and block hackers preying on free public Wi-fi platforms.  They also revolutionized cyber-security trainings, making them available at very low rates compared to prohibitive market service fees.

Gypsy is a Philippine advertising technology platform, that offers advertisers, not only the market reach, but valuable data-gathering technologies and hyper-targeting solutions to effectively launch campaigns via proprietary-apps installed in tablets in ride-hailing services and public transportation alternatives.

Mober offers a mobile platform to easily find and book location-based, on-demand tailor-fit trucking and moving solutions for businesses and individuals, similar to how ride-hailing solutions do their businesses.

Investagrams is a one-stop shop platform that offers beginners guides and tips for individuals who want to invest in the stock market. Investagrams offers monitoring of hundreds of stocks real time and the ability for users to engage on virtual trading transactions.

JazzyPay is a Philippine payment platform that offers efficient billing solutions for businesses from any part of the world, to bill their clientele. JazzyPay offers their services via their proprietary app, e-mail, sms or other messaging platforms.

Qwikwire offers advanced business solutions such as Skas Property Management services, SAP- integrated billing and invoicing systems, cross-border settlements via their own proprietary blockchain powered multi-listing engine. Qwikwire also offers a niche service catered to provide comprehensive real-estate solutions for brokers and property developers.

Retailgate uses its AI-powered solutions to help retailers gain competitive market intelligence through retail analytics. Employing artificial intelligence, they offer their platform to empower brick-and-mortar stores by providing access to AI-analyzed market information on customer traffic and dwell time, forecast demand levels, assess marketing effectiveness and determine conversion rates.

Rumarocket developed its own AI-enabled algorithm that offers HR analytics and machine learning solutions for talent recruitment, management and retention for enterprises and companies in their HR and Recruitment functions. Rumarocket’s solutions are aimed ensuring meaningful impact on clients’ bottom line and strategic HR management.

Senti Techlabs offers its proprietary artificial intelligence-powered solutions to businesses for market and audience sentiment data collection and analyses, using natural language processing and machine-learning processes.

“We are proud to have an impactful participation and excellent representation this year composed of the high-innovation, talent and creativity of the Philippine start-up community at Taiwan’s InnoVex 2019, to showcase the diverse and cutting-edge solutions from our start-ups that aim to solve very current day-to-day problems,” DTI Trade Representative and MECO Director of Commercial Affairs Michael Alfred V. Ignacio said.

In addition to QBO Innovation Hub, another incubator-accelerator, Spring Valley Technology and Innovation Hub, located in Roxas City will join the Philippine delegation at InnoVEX. Spring Valley Technology and Innovation was created as a home for innovation and technology development both for local and international start-ups and technology developers in central Philippines. Spring Valley also partnered with the province of Capiz and the DTI to create Capiz’s Fablab and Innovation Center.

The Philippine-participants in this year’s event were selected following thorough selection criteria from a list of applicants after a call to participation was announced to the Philippine start-up community.

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