The Department of Trade and Industry’s Center for International Trade Exposition and Missions (CITEM) is set to launch the 11th edition of the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) – Philippines, the biggest international food trade exhibition which will compose of over 700 exhibitors showcasing ethnic and specialty food from various Asian countries.

High on this year’s food exhibition is the promotion of the historical, geographical and cultural influences behind the best of Southeast Asia’s distinct cuisines through “TASTE ASEAN,” that is set on 19-21 May at the World Trade Center (WTC) and at the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) in Pasay City.

“Philippines is among the top exporters of food worldwide. We hope that with this year’s IFEX, we could target sales of up to $118 million,” said DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

On 6 May, during the IFEX Al Fresco event with the media, CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon announced that with IFEX success in recent years, it should be held annually. “IFEX helps not just uplift the Philippine brand, but also allow our exhibitors to introduce their products to a whole new market globally,” Tugonon added. Past years, the Philippines would hold IFEX after every other year.

“ASEAN is home for so many delicacies and food brands that are truly world-class. We hope to make these brands widely known to our local and foreign buyers,” explained Undersecretary Terrado.

Tropical fruits, vegetables, fresh and processed seafood, sauces and condiments, and other food products that make up the food industry worldwide will be up for selling during the exposition.

Exhibitors, aside from the ASEAN member states, who also confirmed their presence at IFEX 2017 include China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.

DTI noted that IFEX is the only business-to-business and export-oriented food show in the country designed for local and international food companies to meet and transact with the world’s top buyers.

IFEX Philippines is organized by CITEM, the leading attached agency of the DTI that conducts international trade expositions and missions promoting the Philippine brand.

At present, the Philippine food industry is among the top industries where micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) thrive. In 2015, out of the 896,839 established MSMEs in the country, 13.3% of these are in the food and accommodation services which created a total of 666,254 jobs.