Following the warm buyer reception in the past edition, FoodPHILIPPINES primes up to promote the country’s local social enterprises at the 42nd Winter Fancy Food Show (WFFS) in San Francisco, USA on January 22-24.
Each of these social enterprises nurture advocacies in the heart of their businesses—narratives of the people, places, and practices surrounding their products.
“FoodPHILIPPINES will showcase products that do not only stand out given their high food export quality, but also advocate social, cultural, and environmental advocacies,” says Rosvi C. Gaetos, executive director of Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “While Philippine specialty products are already recognized to be of premium quality, companies go beyond texture and flavor as every purchase of their products also builds awareness on creating self-sustaining communities, protecting environment, and preserving rich cultural heritage—changing the world one product at a time.”
Stories of triumphs and innovations
In the last exhibit, CITEM generated a record-breaking 540 total inquiries and negotiated sales, amounting to over USD44M in the FoodPHILIPPINES Pavilion, while promoting the social narratives behind Philippine specialty food products and efforts made to improve the lives of people in grassroots communities.
For this 2017 participation, Century Pacific Food, Inc. will feature canned tuna products that were caught using handline fishing, a method designed to make sustainable fishing a viable means of livelihood for small fisher folk in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
FoodPHILIPPINES will also showcase Magic Melt, Inc.’s cakes and pastries made of mango flour, a gluten-free, wheat substitute developed and patented in the Philippines in a collaboration between the government, academe, and small farming communities to commercialize viable by-products of mango wastes such as seed, peel, and kernel.
The country’s pavilion will also feature the narratives of Big “E” Food Corporation, behind assorted cakes; GCB Food Corporation, in relation to its banana chips and noodles; and RDEX Food International, Inc, with regard to its dried tropical fruits.
The social enterprises that are making a comeback in this participation are Brandexports Philippines, Inc., Fruits of Life, Inc., Raw Brown Sugar Milling Co., Inc., SAGREX Food, Inc., See’s International Food Mfg. Corp., SL Agritech Corporation; and xroads Philippine Sea Salts.
Building beyond businesses, nurturing generations
Demonstrating how businesses can nurture communities and grow together with its people, most of these social enterprises employ the labor of grassroots communities to provide them a livelihood. The set-up empowers small-scale producers, improving their dignity of life and morale while providing consumers value-added and high-quality products. Moreover, these businesses conduct capacity building training and seminars, and offer scholarship programs to children of economically-challenged families in the community.
Being more aware of pressing environmental issues and the threat of dying heritage, these companies respond by adapting strategies that safeguard natural resources, as with hand line fishing method of tuna to ensure the protection of Philippine seawaters that are also recognized for its rich marine life. One enterprise that promotes heirloom rice stands for the preservation of the Philippines’ renowned rice terraces, and the agricultural tradition of rice planting that has endured through generations.
FoodPHILIPPINES is a branding initiative of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-CITEM), which unifies the efforts of the government in promoting the Philippines as a source of quality food products in the global market.