Philippines targets US$28M export sales in Asia-Pacific’s biggest food fair

Philippine tropical fruits take center stage in FOODEX Japan


photo1prFoodPHILIPPINES brings healthy and natural products derived from “power fruits” such as coconuts, bananas, mangoes, and pineapples.

Seventeen local companies take advantage of the Philippines’ developing trade relations with Japan as it showcases the country’s finest tropical flavors in the largest food fair in the Asia-Pacific region.

They will feature the country’s premium tropical products, including banana, coconut, mango, and pineapple, in the 42nd International Food and Beverage Exhibition, popularly known as FOODEX Japan, on 7-10 March in Chiba, Japan.

As a major gateway to the Japanese market, FOODEX welcomes over 3,000 local and international exhibitors, as well as 75,000 buyers from the food manufacturing, service, distribution, and trading sectors this March.

“With the existing Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), Japan provides an attractive and vast market for Philippine food suppliers to serve the retail, food service, and manufacturing industries,” said Rosvi Gaetos, CITEM Executive Director. “Through this participation, Philippine companies can benchmark and update themselves on the demands and current regulations of the Japanese market.”

For 2017, the FoodPHILIPPINES Pavilion targets at least US$ 28 million export sales in the four-day event, surpassing last year’s US$ 27 million sales record.

The country’s delegation this year will bring various coconut derivatives, banana chips, and other organic fruit purees and fillings. It will also feature soft-serve ice cream and cones, rum, seafood, Peking duck, chicken yakitori, and other meat products.

Participating companies in this edition includes AgriNurture, Inc., AslaxPhils Corporation, Benevelle Corporation, CJ Uniworld Corporation, DLA Naturals, Inc., Bleeding Heart Rum Company, Fruits of Life, Inc., GSL Premium Food Export Corporation, Maharlika Agro-Marine Venture Corporation, Pasciolco Agri Ventures, Prime Fruits International, Inc., Profood International Corporation, Prosource International, Inc., Raw Brown Sugar Milling Company, Inc., c Republic Biscuit Corporation, See’s International Food Mfg. Corporation, Year Luck Food and Industrial Corporation.

Japan is the Philippines’ largest export destination for fresh foods and the second largest market for processed food, next to the United States. In November 2016, the Philippines’ export to Japan records a total revenue of US$ 898.83 million, comprising nearly 20 percent of the country’s global export.

The Philippines is currently the world’s second largest producer of coconut and banana, according to the 2015 data of the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Department of Agriculture. It is also a top global producer of pineapple (3rd), canned tuna (4th), and mango (10th), based on a 2013 data of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Expanding the Banana Market in Japan

photo2prBanana chips is one of the healthy tropical products available in the FoodPHILIPPINES Pavilion.

Philippine bananas is one of the most highly sought-after tropical fruits in Japan—accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total bananas circulating in the Japanese market.

Ninety percent of bananas in Asia are grown in the Philippines where the industry rakes $1.2 billion annually. Bananas are the second highest-earning agricultural export of the Philippines, next to coconut.

In President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit last year, Japan pledged US$ 1 billion investment in the Philippines agricultural sector, as well as agreements to import Philippine bananas, pineapples, and avocados.

In particular, Japanese company Farmind Corp. signed an agreement with the Philippine government to import 20 million boxes of Cavendish bananas to Japan every year, generating an estimate of P5 billion annual revenue for local farmers in conflicted areas.

“The Japanese have an intergenerational love affair with Philippine bananas,” said Gaetos. “We plan to introduce a new twist to our ready-to-eat banana chips, of which they show avid fondness.”

Banana chips are slices of bananas that are deep fried, baked, or dehydrated to become crispy. It is then coated with sugar, honey, salt, or spices. Banana chips are increasingly becoming sensational snacks as healthier alternatives to potato chips.

According to Japan’s financial magazine, Toyo Keizai, households of at least two people buy an average of 18 kilograms of bananas a year, well ahead of the No. 2 fruit, mandarins, at 13 kilograms per annum.

However, in 2014, the Japan Business Press reported that fruit consumption, in general, was dropping in Japan because young people do not have the tendency to eat fruit — or, at least, not in their raw form. Consequently, there is an increasing demand on processed fruits sold as confections and beverages, which appeal to younger people.

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

FoodPHILIPPINES Pavilion will be located at Booth 5B01 along Hall 5 of the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan. This participation in the FOODEX Japan 2017 is organized by CITEM, in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Tokyo, as one of the DTI’s major efforts to intensify the promotion of Philippine specialty food products in overseas trade shows.

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