The Center for International Trade Missions and Expositions (CITEM) has been a primary proponent for the country’s SMEs as major players in the export industry. As the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) lead promotions arm for export, CITEM continues to develop its platform for local food companies to become competitive, stable, and sustainable amid challenges in the global food market.

For its signature program under the FOODPhilippines banner, CITEM will stage IFEX Philippines 2024: It’s a salu-salo! – where one can find the best flavors in this 17th edition of the biggest international trade show for food and ingredients – happening at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City from May 10-12, 2024. This year’s IFEX Philippines expects to bring in a new stream of importers along with its regular community of buyers and visitors from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East regions. 

CITEM understands the challenges local companies face when it comes to effective promotion to the international F&B market. IFEX Philippines has become a crucial platform for global recognition and networking between local businesses and international buyers, importers, and retailers. 

For IFEX Philippines 2024, the country continues its tradition of bringing together the very best of Philippine gastronomy with its showcase of global food and flavors through a multitude of premium quality food, beverages, ingredients, and services for an exciting salu-salo  like no other. A valuable marketing platform for SMEs, IFEX Philippines also creates a lucrative space for international and local buyers looking to discover new and exciting flavors and food culture from across the country and other Asian ingredients.

Changing the food landscape

Calls for healthier and certifiable options are now top priorities among enterprises across food industries, from sourcing down to the last detail in packaging. These reflect the global consumer demand for more sustainable, functional, culture-driven, and convenient choices. Many of the world’s major importers of goods are located in Europe, where the Philippines, as a member of the World Trade Organization, has benefited in terms of zero tariffs on over 6,000 products via the European Union Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (EU GSP+). Meanwhile, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) stands to become the first free trade agreement of the country with the Middle East, as negotiations with the United Arab Emirates are underway. This move will further enhance the Philippines’ prospects to become a major sourcing hub for Halal-certified products to better cater to the growing Muslim communities in the country and across the region. 

(L-r) Protein-rich savory sardines with black beans; A cultural take on beers made with black rice, coffee, and pine; and ube powder for easy dessert preparation.

Filling the European basket

In 2022, sales of coconut products contributed to almost half of the total agricultural exports of the country at 43 per cent. Given that the coconut is the biggest food export of the Philippines, the fruit continues to be among the popular Asian food imports in the European market.

The coconut’s versatility has spanned an entire category of products that include coconut oil, copra meal, desiccated coconut, coconut water, coco peat, and activated carbon among others. Driven in large part by the global call for more health-oriented and plant-based food offerings, importers continue to embrace the functional benefits of coconut. The lauric acid in the fruit makes it a premium commodity, and comes in next to olive oil, price wise, among the world’s vegetable oil production in 2022.

Philippine food exports that cater to the growing demand for healthier and plant-based nutrition include various products of coconut, such as fresh and toasted meat and oil among others. (Photo credit:

PH durian reigns supreme

In the first half of 2023 alone, the value of Philippine durian exported to China stood at USD 1.88 million (per the DTI). Keeping the momentum for export trade with leading export partner China and Asia-Pacific neighbors is the ratification by the Senate of the Philippines and subsequent implementation in June of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This economic integration is seen to increase export-import trade efficiency and further strengthen the overall supply chain in the region.

Durian remains a top export product to China,and continues to grow in popularity due to healing benefits, such as anti-aging and cancer-fighting properties. (Photo credits, l-r: @milosfruitshop and

Stemming from the China visit in January 2023 of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Protocol of the Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Fresh Durians from the Philippines to China was signed, opening doors to bring fresh durian to the China food market. This bilateral agreement began full implementation last April 2023, with the first shipment of 28,000 kilograms of fresh durian. 

Island flavors to the world 

Participation and attendance to IFEX Philippines 2024 will allow buyers, importers, and other retailers to easily connect with over 500 participating exhibitors and industry insiders with CITEM’s dedicated B2B and digital trade show components, which include incentive programs, talks and seminars, and other related technical engagements. There will be a plethora of food offerings, one that is in tune with the consumer pulse toward more nutrition-rich, natural, culture-based,   and convenient offerings and innovative practices. The country expects local exporters to benefit further, given the strong agricultural supply capability for many of today’s top healthy in-demand food and ingredients, namely: banana, cacao, coffee, coconut, mango, pineapple, and tuna. 

The Philippines for years has been fostering a steady growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaging in the food export industry. These local businesses have become consistent players in various food segments, thereby strengthening the country’s trade reputation as one of the go-to sourcing destinations for premium quality food and ingredients.

As challenges in the food and beverage (F&B) scene continue to evolve toward more conscionable, healthy, and sustainable products and services, so does the race for more equitable opportunities for food makers, distributors, and consumers. Market indicators aid in building the necessary bilateral trade relations with regional neighbors in congruence with the country’s trade laws and regulations. These export-driven initiatives have been built on a   reliable network of industry partners, whose vast resources are instrumental to the success and growth of local exhibitors in the global and local scenes.

CITEM also regularly participates in overseas trade fairs to showcase the latest offerings of Philippine companies engaged in the food industry in various regions, such as Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. It recently concluded its Philippine showcase in Gulfood 2024 in Dubai last February.

The registration for buyers to IFEX Philippines 2024 is ongoing until May 05, 2024. Interested buyers may send queries to:

Get to know more about participating IFEX Philippines exhibitors and their product lines by visiting and find stories on the Philippines’ rich food culture and culinary landscape on

Follow us on our official Facebook (ifexphilippines), Instagram (official_foodph), LinkedIn (IFEX Philippines), and X (@_foodph) accounts for other news and updates.


The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). For 40 years, CITEM has established the country’s image as a premier destination for quality export products and services. It continues to set the highest standards of creativity, excellence, and innovation to achieve competitiveness in the home, fashion, lifestyle, food, creative, and sustainability sectors. CITEM is committed to developing, nurturing, and promoting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), brands, designers, and manufacturers by implementing an integrated approach to export marketing in partnership with other government and private entities.

About FOODPhilippines

FOODPhilippines promotes the country as a source of quality food products and ingredients in physical and/or digital trade shows and business-to-business platforms in priority markets around the world. Under the FOODPhilippines banner, the Philippines is positioned as an exporter of healthy, organic, natural, and specialty food products and services. ♦

Date of release: 13 March 2024