24 October 2017

Published also in Business Mirror

LOCAL exporters are invited to showcase the country’s premium export-food products in the North American region as part of the Food Philippines delegation to the 43rd edition of Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) from January 21 to 23, 2018, at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA.

Led by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the Food Philippines participation next year seeks to expand the country’s market foothold in the North American mainstream market by tapping the increasing demand for specialty food products in the United States.

“WFFS is one of the major trade fairs in the US where exporters in the Philippines can showcase their unique specialty-food products and cater to the growing health-conscious consumers in the west,” Citem Executive Director Clayton Tugonon said.

Food companies that will be part of the Philippine delegation can take advantage of the business-matching activities with international buyers in WFFS 2018. Their market representatives can also participate in Citem-led export-capability program to equip them with relevant knowledge on the market trends and requirements in North America.

Organized by the Specialty Food Association, the WFFS is the US West Coast’s largest annual trade show devoted exclusively to specialty food and beverages. The event features close to 1,500 exhibitors and showcases more than 80,000 different specialty food and beverages across the globe.

Specialty foods are defined as products of the highest grade, style and quality. Their special nature is derived through the following qualities: uniqueness, origin, processing method, design, supply limit, packaging and channel of distribution.

To a high-quality product exhibit, Citem is tapping local manufacturers and exporters compliant with US’s international safety and quality regulations and requirements, such as the United States Department of Agriculture Organic, US Food and Drug Administration and other certifications.

In its participation in WFFS 2017, 20 local companies under Food Philippines secured a total of $48.73 million negotiated sales in 463 inquiries from trade buyers. With an initial target of $47 million, the country’s delegation recorded its highest sales in its four years of participation in the WFFS.

Among the country’s best-selling items in its previous participation are premium rice and tuna. The country’s corn snacks also garnered positive reception for its crunchier, tastier and bigger servings, compared to those from other countries. Other top Philippine products include banana chips, nuts, coconut products and other tropical fruits.

The US is one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines and the country’s third-largest trading partner. The Philippines has been among the largest beneficiaries of the US’s Generalized System of Preferences scheme for developing countries, which provides preferential duty-free access to the US market.

Food Philippines’s participation in the WFFS 2018 is organized by Citem, in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in San Francisco and Los Angeles, as one of the Department of Trade and Industry’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.