Food Philippines, the country’s national brand for its food exports, makes waves in the first Philippine participation in the Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) in Moscone Center, San Francisco, USA on January 19-21, 2014. Food Philippines’ products received raves and warm reception from the local U.S media and from the big premium specialty food chains supplying natural and organic food products.
Food Philippines showcased the Philippines’ distinct taste and flavors through its unlimited food samples of Filipino heritage dishes to the food enthusiasts, and visitors of the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.
The WFFS is West Coast’s largest specialty food and beverage show that features around 80,000 on-trend and best-in-class specialty foods and beverages in the U.S. and from other countries. The Philippine participation in the WFFS is spearheaded by the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), and the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (PTIC) in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.
During the three-day event, the Philippine pavilion registered around 330 buyer inquiries and more than two hundred buyer visits. Moreover, three specialty food products from the Philippines were of particular great interest to a number of large importers in the U.S., namely the cacao-made single-origin chocolate of Malagos Agri-Venture Corporation, banana chips and nata de coco of Prime Fruits International, Inc., the steamed Filipino rice cake instant mixes of JNRM Corporation, and the edible Roselle (gumamela) flower of Herbanext Laboratories, Inc. Food Philippines featured 10 top food exporters and manufacturers that occupied the 16 booths of the Philippine Pavilion at the South Hall of the Moscone Center.
Food Philippines features the award-winning, San Francisco-based, Filipino-American Chef Thomas Weibull at the Philippine pavilion. Chef Weibull’s live cooking demonstration of the Philippine heritage dishes was well-received by the food enthusiasts and visitors at the Winter Fancy Food Show
San Francisco-based, award-winning Fil-Am Chef Thomas Weibull is shown here doing a cooking demonstration at the Philippine pavilion during the second day of the Winter Fancy Food Show. Chef Weibull cooks Philippine heritage dishes like adobo and lumpia for the American food enthusiasts, buyers, and visitors.
The Malagos cacaos, which surprisingly are supplying to famous chocolate company Mars, as well as Askinoskie chocolate from Missouri, have fascinated a certain premium specialty food chain in the U.S. because of the company’s advocacy for natural and organic food that are practicing sustainable agriculture. This Davao-based cacao-derived chocolate products will also be featured in the U.S.’ famous confectionery magazine Dessert, as this celebrated food product has enticed the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine when he visited the Philippine pavilion.
“Our theme Natural, Organic, and Heritage really suits the U.S. market because the consumers there are now looking for products that are not only of premium quality, but natural and organic as well,” said Ms. Rosvi C. Gaestos, Executive Director of CITEM.
The Food Philippines Philippines pavilion, with its especially designed booth system that carried a cheerful, airy and warm ambiance has also impressed the organizers of the Winter Fancy Food Show who were all-praises for it. The Philippines, incidentally, has the largest country pavilion from ASEAN at the WFFS.
Visitors and food enthusiasts of the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco at the site of Food Philippines located in South Hall, Moscone Center. The 16-booth Philippine pavilion showcased its finest healthy, natural and organic products that are of proud Philippine heritage.
“Our excellent preparation in our booth and in our promotional materials and, of course the food products that we brought meant that this activity is a serious investment for us. More importantly, the Philippine participation in the WFFS has opened the eyes of the U.S. and North American market that our country can be a reliable source of healthy, natural and organic specialty premium products,” said CITEM Deputy Executive Director Ms. Malou D. Mediran.
The CITEM Deputy Executive Director also reported that potential export orders in excess of US$10.0 million have been generated from the Show by the exhibiting Philippine companies.
After participating in the WFFS, the Philippine business delegation proceeded to a selling mission to Los Angeles on Jan. 22-24. It was highlighted by a press conference, meetings with selected importers and store visits, and whole day business matching event on Jan. 24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Deputy Executive Director Mediran also added that, “the exporters were very happy with the overall market response of the products they brought to the U.S., as well as the support of the government to them through DTI/CITEM. The exporters are highly appreciative of the efforts of government in helping SMEs promote their products in the global market, which on their own way cannot undertake because of the cost of investment required. Though the DEFood program, the exporters receive assistance in terms of proper mandatory labeling, getting alignment in certification, and packaging design.”
Trade Representative Jose Ma. Dinsay, Director of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center, Los Angeles, and appointed lead person of the DTI for food sector program in the U.S. said, “The said two events in the U.S. are part of a long-term strategy of the Philippine government in partnership with the country’s food manufacturers and exporters to promote premium products to the discerning consumers in the U.S. market.”
“We will aim to work closely with upscale and specialty food retail chains to ensure that our world- class products are available and accessible to our target mainstream market,” he added.
This program is supported by the Philippine Consulates in Los Angeles and San Francisco.