10 food startups represented global potential of SME innovation at 10th IFEX Philippines

A fresh crop of innovative food concepts had been selected by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as the embodiment of SME innovation in the local food sector.

The 10 startup food companies were chosen through CITEM’s Red Box Food program, which serves as the primary platform for promising food enterprises, to showcase innovative specialty food products with strong potential for the international market.

Red Box Food was one of the highlights of the 10th International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines, the biennial food trade show and a leading source of Asian food, ingredients, and raw materials.

“With the onset of the ASEAN economic integration, the Red Box Food program provides incentives to the local food SME sector to become globally competitive by developing artisanal food concepts that will surpass trends and widen the landscape of domestic cuisine,” said Rosvi Gaetos, executive director of CITEM.

Launched in 2013, the Red Box encourages and nourishes raw entrepreneurial talent from the fashion and luxury home furnishing sectors. This year marks the Red Box program’s first venture into the food sector.

Aside from the participation at IFEX Philippines 2015, Red Box Food assists the 10 chosen startups through the use of sustained market-engaging tools across various global platforms. With this effort, CITEM seeks to further cultivate the country’s reputation as a leading source of innovative food exports.

Artisanal food products are made by modern craftsmen who are intimately involved in the creation of their product — from ingredient selection, to production, all the way to branding and distribution. They are often produced on a small-scale basis, to preserve the quality of flavor and presentation.

Adam’s Seriously Good Ice Cream was initially created by Adam Lieberman to supplement the dessert menu of a local Japanese restaurant. Made with the finest ingredients through an intricate double cooking method, the artisanal ice cream took on a life of its own after the demand for it surpassed that of the other items on the menu.

From local organic peanuts to Spanish Manchego cheese, Adam’s Ice Cream takes no compromise in crafting their sophisticated flavors.

Adam’s Seriously Good Ice Cream
 Adam’s Seriously Good Ice Cream
Adam’s Seriously Good Ice Cream
Adam’s Seriously Good Ice Cream

Made by self-confessed chocolate lover Miguel Vargas, Bucky’s Not A Brownie does its best to differentiate itself from the familiar chewy treat. Despite looking like one, it can be described as a combination of flourless chocolate cake, brownies, and fudge.

Bucky’s takes its name from Miguel’s childhood, a time of rebelliousness that is embodied in the sweet treat’s anti-brownie status.

Bucky’s Not A Brownie
   Bucky’s Not A Brownie
Bucky’s Not A Brownie
      Bucky’s Not A Brownie

Chili Chili Bang Bang is based from a slow-cooked chili con carne recipe that has been handed down as a family culinary heirloom. By creating variants with tasty new twists, its creators seek to introduce this rather obscure dish to the mainstream Filipino palate.

As a dip, a topping, or on its own, Chili Chili Bang Bang demonstrates the versatility of chii con carne.

Chili Chili Bang Bang
        Chili Chili Bang Bang
Chili Chili Bang Bang
        Chili Chili Bang Bang

Chef Arnold Bernardo combined familiar local ingredients with some international flavors to create Deep Dips, gourmet creations that have found more culinary applications besides dipping and topping. More than 40 variants later, the bottled mixes are poised to take traditional Filipino flavors to the modern international market.

Of all the possible types of food to make, Chef Arnold chose the underserved dips market simple because he wants to set trends instead of following them.

Deep Dips
    Deep Dips
Deep Dips
                  Deep Dips

EDSA Beverage Design Group was borne out of the desire to explore the upper limits of liquid cuisine. The group develops coffee, cocktails, sodas, and beer using the best and freshest ingredients available in the market, resulting in some of the most interesting home-brewed beverages.

In the pursuit of the noble beverage, EDSA BDG also conducts beverage courses in at their headquarters.

EDSA Beverage Design Group
EDSA Beverage Design Group
EDSA Beverage Design Group
EDSA Beverage Design Group

There are sweet rice-based varieties of the Japanese sushi, but few cross the line to become true cake desserts like Pink Wasabi. Pastry Chef Anna Chua hand rolls Kashi Maki to create more than a dozen bite-sized flavors that combine the richness of cakes with the artistry of Japanese sushi.

Like traditional Japanese sushi, each Kashi Maki is carefully rolled by hand to create edible pieces of art.

Pink Wasabi
Pink Wasabi
Pink Wasabi
Pink Wasabi

Gerald Montelibano created Slurp Coffee after failing to find a shop that brews the blend he wants. The young brand is known for its readily available cold-brewed blend, but what sets it apart is the option for ordering batches that can be customized according to all sorts of preferences.

Each “dose” is served in an amber medicine bottle and is treated very much like a doctor’s “prescription.”

Slurp Coffee
Slurp Coffee
Slurp Coffee
Slurp Coffee

Husband and Wife tandem Marc and Tricia Castrodes quit their day jobs to create The Original Cookie Sticks — an interesting twist to an all-time classic.  A desire to make cookies more convenient led to this handier version of the classic favorite, marketed as the perfect snack on the go.

The stick shape and cup packaging has been carefully thought out for maximum portability.

The Original Cookie Sticks
The Original Cookie Sticks
The Original Cookie Sticks
The Original Cookie Sticks

The many flavors of Up In The Clouds Ice Cream are quirky and artisanal enough to satisfy discerning palates without being too sophisticated for fun. Featuring variants such as Butterbeer and Me Lychee, the many tastes of this hip ice cream brand is a reflection of its creators’ light and creative attitude on daily life.

From a passion project, Up in the Clouds Ice Cream has grown to become one of the most sought-after treats in food bazaars.

Up In The Clouds Ice Cream
Up In The Clouds Ice Cream
Up In The Clouds Ice Cream
Up In The Clouds Ice Cream

Voila! Jars were created with one goal in mind: to enable just about everyone to make cakes on their own as they please. Creator Ryan Tan put together his love for French soufflé and Belgian chocolate to end up with three-step, ready-to-bake cakes in a jar.

Aside from simplifying the cake-making process, the creators of Voila! Jars encourage customization with just about any imaginable dessert topping.

Voila! Jars
Voila! Jars
Voila! Jars
Voila! Jars
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