13 October 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

IN a bid to highlight the country’s food innovations, top local brands and commodities will represent the Philippines in a high-impact exhibit at the Salon International de I’Alimentation (SIAL) at the Paris Nord Villepinte in Paris, France, from October 21 to 25, 2018.

The Department of Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM), will bring 24 Philippine companies in SIAL Paris to expand the market presence of Philippine food exports in the European Union, particularly on products that enjoy zero-tariff privileges under EU’s Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+).

The Philippines will return to France this year with a bigger delegation to showcase the country’s most in-demand food exports in Europe like banana chips, tuna and desiccated coconut,” said DTI-CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.

SIAL Paris is regarded as among the biggest and most prominent food trade shows in the world. It is considered as a crossroad of world agri-business supply and demand, and a springboard for food companies in the  global market. In 2016 the biennial food trade event housed 7,020 exhibitors from 109 countries and welcomed 155,766 visitors from 194 countries.

Its visitor profile includes importers, wholesalers, distributors, hotel owners and representatives, restaurant and bakery owners and online retailers across the world. Top 10 of its visiting countries include France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, China, Germany, Turkey and the United States.

“Nine of the Philippine companies joining the delegation are participating in SIAL Paris for the first time, so European and other international buyers can expect new exciting brands and products in the FoodPhilippines Pavilion,” Suaco-Juan said.

“Most of these new companies are from Calabarzon as recommended by the DTI Region 4A and the Association of Laguna Food Processors [Alafop],” she added.

The nine companies that are first-timers in SIAL Paris 2018 include Century Pacific Agricultural Ventures Inc. with their coconut products; LTH Food Industries with their Jersey’s oats, condensed milk, milk and cacao powder; and Snapsnax Ventures with their export-quality banana chips.

Also new to SIAL Paris from Region 4 are members of Alafop with Maestro 1888 and other Laguna-made products; Amazing Foods Corp. and Cocoplus Aquarian Development Corp. with their coconut-based products and oils; Edna and Rebecca’s with their banana chips and coated peanuts; Escaba Food Products Inc. with their sweet preserves and jams made from tropical fruits; Filipinas Oro de Cacao Inc. with single origin, bean-to-bar Auro chocolate; and Mira’s Turmeric Products with their herbal turmeric and ginger brew.

Meanwhile, returning to SIAL Paris this year are Alliance Select Food; Amley Food Corp.; Andy Albao Corp.; Brandexports Philippines Inc.; B-G Fruits and Nuts Manufacturing Corp.; Celebes Canning Corp.; GSL Premium Food Export Corp.; San Miguel Purefoods Co. Inc.; Seabest Food and Beverage Corp.; See’s International Food Mfg. Corp.; Seatrade Canning Corp.; Super Q, Profood International Corp.; Phil-Union Frozen Foods Inc.; and Prime Fruits International Inc.

“With the promising products of these companies, we are confident we can sustain the strong presence of the Philippine food sector in the European market,” Suaco-Juan said.

A major highlight of the country’s exhibit is the showcase of Maestro 1888, a heritage coffee from Cabuyao, Laguna, claimed to be the same favorite robusta coffee of the Philippines’ National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

“In 1881, the Augustinian friars introduced a variety of coffee in Tabuco, the old name of Cabuyao, named ‘Canephora’ now known as Robusta,” Alafop Chairman Clarke Nebral said in an interview.

Nebral said historical accounts showed that from 1887 to 1889, Rizal drank the Tabuco (Cabuyao) coffee while writing his poems and letters to girlfriend Leonor Rivera and his novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo,” among others.

“Based on historical documents, the Robusta coffee is considered the Laguna Heritage Filipino Coffee since it started in the province and the favorite of Dr. Rizal,” Nebral noted.

“As we exhibit in Paris, we want Europeans and other visitors in SIAL to be part of the renaissance of our century-old coffee heritage and let them appreciate the colorful Philippine history and culture that go along its aroma and palatable taste,” he added.

To better highlight its products, the Philippine delegation will also conduct food-tasting activities and a cooking demonstration at the Philippine pavilion which will be conducted by Filipino chef Beatriz Bautista Nitard.

FoodPhilippines in SIAL Paris is a branding initiative of CITEM, the export promotion arm of DTI. It spearheads the efforts of the government in promoting the Philippines as a source of quality food products in the global market.

This participation is undertaken in cooperation with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Paris.