TWENTY-THREE local companies are currently showcasing Philippine food products under FoodPhilippines in the 23rd edition of Gulfood or the Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire at Sheikh Rashid Hall in the Dubai World Trade Center, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The fair began on February 18 and runs until February 21.

Known as the world’s biggest food and hospitality trade event, Gulfood is a one-stop platform for the latest tastes, trends and innovation in the international food industry. In 2017, the four-day event was participated in by  around 5,000 companies and attended by 97,000 trade buyers all over the world.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), the Philippine delegation has on display the country’s top halal-certified, healthy and organic products, including fruits and vegetables, seafood and marine products, ethnic and gourmet selections  and other functional food and beverage products.

“We have carefully primed a roster of 23 top exporting companies in a grand showcase of the Philippines’s best product selections in the world’s biggest trade platform for food and ingredients,” DTI-Citem Deputy Executive Director Ma. Lourdes Mediran said.

Joining the delegation are Asia Brewery Inc., Brandexports Philippines Inc., Celebes Coconut Corp., Century Pacific Food Inc., Gem Foods International Inc., Krystle Exports Philippines Inc., Magic Melt Foods Inc., Mama Sita’s (Sandpiper Spices and Condiments Corp.), Marikina Food Corp., Market Reach International Resources, Mega Global Corp. and Miesto International Foods Corp.

Also exhibiting in the FoodPhilippines pavilion are Millennium Specialty Coco Products Inc., Philippine Grocers Food Exports Inc., Pixcel Transglobal Foods Inc., Profood International Corp., Q-Phil Products International, Roxas Sigma Agriventures Inc., Sagrex Foods Inc., San Miguel Purefoods Inc., Seatrade Canning Corp., SL Agritech Corp. and Super Q.

“Backed with these firms, we are confident this country participation will hit our sales target and significantly boost the government’s high-impact export strategy to generate more buyer interest for halal Philippine products in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] region,” Mediran saud.

GCC refers to the political, social and economic alliance of six countries, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. The Muslim-dominated region sits at the heart of the global halal-food market.

Saudi Arabia remains the largest food-consuming GCC nation due to its large population base. The fastest growth rate for food consumption, however, is seen in Qatar and the UAE with an annual growth of about 5.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.  The UAE alone has a market outreach to about 1.5 billion people living in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and other Asian regions, making it the world’s top 3 reexport center.

In its upcoming participation, the DTI-Citem is looking to rake in at least $110-million export deals as the Philippines seeks to increase its 5-percent share of the international halal market, complementing the overall government’s effort to empower its halal‐certified local entrepreneurs and set up 10 halal-accreditation centers in 2018.

The DTI seeks to increase the country’s exports of halal products to $1.4 billion by next year from its current average of about $800 million annually. In the World Halal Assembly held last January, the DTI forecasted the global halal market might reach a total of $10 trillion by 2030, from its current valuation of $3.2 million.

Organized by Citem, the participation of FoodPhilippines in Gulfood 2018 was in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Dubai. It is among the DTI’s major efforts to intensify the promotion of Philippine specialty food products in overseas trade shows.

Citem is committed to developing, nurturing and promoting globally competitive small and medium enterprises, exporters, designers and manufacturers by implementing an Integrated Approach to Export Marketing in partnership with other government and private entities.