By Magnolia Uy and Ella Burgos / Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Geneva
The “Slow Food” movement in Switzerland has progressed into high gear recently with books and films raising awareness of the dangers of a fast-food diet for humans and the planet. Two leading retailers, Migros and Coop, played a key role in the Slow Food movement since the early 1990s when they first placed organic products on their shelves. It was a decision that proved to be a breakthrough for chemical free foods, putting them for the first time on the plates of the average Swiss family.
Slow Food began in Italy in 1986 with the foundation of its forerunner organization, Arcigola, to resist the opening of a McDonald’s near the Spanish steps in Rome. The Slow Food organization spawned by the movement has expanded and now has over 100,000 members with chapters in over 132 countries.
According to the international Slow Food organization, everyone has “the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture. We believe the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work”.
The Philippines can take advantage of the Slow Food Trend in the following aspects:
1. Non-GMO Foods/Organic food and fair trade certifications—About 80 percent of the world’s chocolate is organic by default. Most farmers can’t afford chemical applications, and it’s not efficient for the crop.
2. Dehydrated Foods—Dehydrated foods make for convenient, healthier, less sugary snacking and help preserve foods and concentrate their flavors. Philippine products: dried fruits and nuts, seaweed;
3. Gluten-Free Flours—Grainfree cooking and baking is trending and very popular in Paleo circles, so the demand for these flours is on the rise. Philippine products: mango flour, coconut flour;
4. Single origin food—Singleorigin food is food products grown within a single-known geographic origin. Sometimes, this is a single farm, or a specific collection of crops from a single country, such as cacao, coffee and tea; and
5. Flavors from Asia—The old days of bland meat and potatoes are gone, as Swiss demographics and palates are shifting, and taste buds are exploring these two exotic continents: Asia and Africa. The Swiss are becoming more open to hotter spices, new textures and taste, and a greater variety of ethnic food.
For more information, you can get in touch with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Geneva, Switzerland, at +41.22.9097900 / 7906/7915/7917 and Geneva@dti. gov.ph. PTIC Geneva is led by our commercial attaches, TSO Maggie Uy and TSO Ella Burgos, and is located at the Philippine Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization at Rue de Lausanne 80, 1902 Geneva. •