DTI-Citem seeks bigger PHL share of $2-trillion global halal food market
Business Mirror
February 7, 2017

FOODPHILIPPINES is eyeing to make $100 million in sales in the fast-growing halal food industry through its participation in the 22nd Gulfood, the world’s largest food fair, from February 26 to March 2.

Gulfood will be held at the Sheikh Rashid Hall (Booth Nos. R-140 and R-M4/N3) in the Dubai World Trade Center, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

FoodPhilippines is a branding initiative of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the export-promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which unifies the efforts of the government in promoting the Philippines as a source of quality food products in the global market.

Gulfood, or the Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire, is the biggest food and hospitality trade show attended by an annual average of 90,000 key industry players, decision-makers and trade buyers all over the world.

“FoodPhilippines provides trade opportunities for local exporters to promote its products to global markets. Through this Gulfood participation, we hope to open more avenues for Philippine companies—sell halal-certified food products in a food fair that is held at one of the most Muslim-dominated regions in the world,” said Rosvi Gaetos, Citem executive director.

In its past participation, FoodPhilippines tallied a record-breaking $109 million worth of total sales, leveraging on some of the country’s premium export-food products, including coconut products and its by-products, rice, mangoes, canned fruits, noodles, canned seafood, and fermented marine products.

Now with 26 Philippine companies, including 10 new participants, Citem aims to generate $110 million in sales under the FoodPhilippines brand, as it brings new innovative healthy options and distinct ready-to-eat (RTE) food and beverages, including instant-coffee blends, seasoned noodles and packed juice.

“Our past Gulfood participation enabled Citem to strategically map out the growing demand for RTE products, such as coffee that compliments the fast, highly urbanized lifestyle of busy consumers in the GCC region,” Gaetos said. “FoodPhilippines is now keen on capturing this growing demand, as it will lead to more income and job opportunities for our local coffee farmers.”

GCC or the Gulf Cooperation Council, refers to the political, social and economic alliance of six countries, namely, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. The Muslim-domination region sits at the heart of the global halal-food market, which, as of 2016, has evolved into a $2-trillion industry—accounting for 17.7 percent of the world’s food-and-beverage market—based on the 2016 Global Islamic Economy Report by Thomson Reuters.

The report indicated worldwide spending on global halal food and lifestyle products could potentially rise 10.8 percent a year until 2019 to create an international industry worth $3.7 trillion.

With the rising income levels and rapid industrialization, GCC’s consumer spending on food alone is expected to reach $106 billion by 2017, a $23-billion rise or a more than 20-percent increase in 2012.

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. In addition, the UAE alone has a market outreach of about 1.5 billion people living in the Middle East, CIS, Central Asia, Africa and other Asian regions—making it the world’s third top reexport center.

“More supermarkets and grocery-store owners are selling Philippine food products due to their recognition of its premium quality and their growing familiarity with the Philippine food culture brought about by our countrymen abroad,” Gaetos said. “Such trend plays to the advantage of this year’s Gulfood participants to penetrate and expand their trade scope, targeting the mainstream halal-food market in the Gulf region.”

Included among the retail outlets selling Philippine food are Al Maya Supermarket, Lulu Supermarket, Carrefour and ZOOM Convenient Stores in Dubai, UAE.

As of 2015, there were over 2.5 million Filipinos living in the Gulf region, based on a data from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. During the same year, around $200 million worth of Philippine food products have been exported to the GCC, wherein 50 percent goes to the UAE.

FoodPhilippines’s participation in the Gulfood 2017 is organized by Citem, in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as one of 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.