PH products rake in $102M in largest food trade show in the Middle East

  • The Philippine participation in the recently concluded Gulfood 2020 proved successful as the delegation surpassed its export sales target for this edition.
FoodPhilippines - Middle East buyer tries Philippine food samples
Middle East trade buyer partakes in the food sampling activities at the FoodPhilippines booth.

Philippine food products featured in the recently concluded Gulfood held at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) last 16-20 February 2020 were well-received by trade buyers and visitors alike as the Philippine delegation promoted the country’s top-performing food exports.

Headed by Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Trade Promotions Group (DTI-TPG), the delegation with 24 exporters from the Philippines’ food sector booked a total of $102 million dollars in reported export sales at the event, which surpassed this year’s target of $93 million.

“The positive reception and performance of Filipino food products in Gulfood reaffirms the demand and market opportunities for Philippine food exports in the Middle East and North African region,” Macatoman said. “This outcome is a signifier and an invitation for local food companies to strengthen their export capabilities to better capture this promising market segment and further promote Philippine products globally.”

The participating companies carried with them a variety of fresh, processed and pre-packaged food products to showcase for the Middle East and North African (MENA) markets. Bestsellers from the Philippine exhibitors include food preserves, fresh and processed bananas, mixes and sauces, condiments and frozen shrimp. On-site demos and samplings were also conducted at the FoodPhilippines pavilion to supplement the promotion of these products during the show.

Visitors at the show particularly noted the superior quality of the seafood and newly introduced frozen meats on display at the Philippine Pavilion. Banana chips were also among the more in-demand products with foreign buyers looking for larger quantity packaging of the local snack food.

The Philippine participation in the 25th edition of Gulfood was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM) and in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Dubai.

Visit for more information on FoodPhilippines and the Philippine participation in Gulfood.


7 New Filipino Chocolate Treats at IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA

Raw cacao beans and chocolate branded bars are lined up in front of the Philippine Cacao Pavilion.

Delectable, decadent and delicious.

These are just some of the flavors that describe the country’s chocolates and cacao-based products, which are being showcased from May 24-26 at the Philippine Cacao Pavilion in IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City.

“Buyers and visitors from major target markets abroad were delighted with heavenly treats by makers of cacao—also known as the ‘Food of the Gods’—at the Philippine Cacao Pavilion,” said Pauline Suaco-Juan, the Executive Director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the organizer of the event.

Here are 7 of the newest Filipino chocolates spotted at the Philippine Cacao Pavilion:

68% Dark Chocolate – Mango by Auro Chocolatesimg2

Auro Chocolates presents a new experience to enjoy Philippine-sourced chocolate and mango with 100 percent of the fruit but without the added sugar. Each piece of this new product is carefully freeze dried to a crisp, giving everyone the crunch and none of the oil.



Tangy Granola with Green Mango and Cacao Nibs by Wit’s Sweets and Savouries


Wit’s Sweets and Savouries prepared its Tangy Granola by combining mood-boosting cacao nibs with the tangy flavor of green mangoes to give an energizing and palatable flavor in every bite. Aside from tangy, granolas are also available in classic tasty, spicy, zesty and in coffee flavors.




Arabica Chocolates by Dulche Chocolates

Bringing the first chocolate brand from Benguet, Dulche Chocolates offers in its Arabica Chocolates two of the best Philippine agri-commodities from the highlands: coffee and cacao. This bitter-sweet concoction is a perfect treat for coffee lovers.




Dark Chocolate Nibs with Cranberries by Chocoloco

Cacao nibs are basically the purest form of chocolate that give you more cacao bean health benefits since it undergoes less processing stages. With its Dark Chocolate Nibs, Chocoloco uses fermented cacao beans which are then perfectly roasted, cracked and coated with premium organic coconut sap sugar.



Cacao Tea by Cacao Culture


Different from the usual tablea, Cacao Culture offers Cacao Tea that is made of 100% cacao husk, or the outer shell of the cacao beans. The husks are from high-quality cacao beans grown, harvested and processed in Davao City—the  “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines.”





Pili Choc by MS3 Choco

Another energizing offering under the Philippine cacao pavilion is the Pili Choc by MS3 Choco made from premium cacao combined with pili nuts which are a significant source of essential minerals, proteins and vitamins.





100% Cacao Bar by Chocoliz/Saret Organic Farmville

This new offering by Chocoliz is a sugar-free, guilt-free, dark chocoloate-tasting candy bar made with organic cacao grown in Luzon by Saret Organic Farmville. This chocolate bar undergoes minimal processing to retain the natural health benefits of cacao.

Minimally processed cacao helps fight against cancer, cardiovascular & kidney diseases, stress and anxiety. It is good for the brain, heart, blood and skin.

Cacao is one of the Philippines’ “Premium 7” export products and has been produced in the country since the 17th century. The Premium 7 exports include coconut, coffee, banana, pineapple, mango and tuna.

All of the three varieties of cacao beans are present and grown in the country. The majority of cocoa beans produced are mid-value Trinitario beans. Criollo beans, which are mainly from older trees, have lower yield but are still being produced while higher value varieties of Forastero beans are beginning to be planted in some local farms.

To know more about Philippine cacao and chocolate products, visit IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA happening on May 24 to 26, 2019 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City.

From trend to mainstream: PH rises in the world of food

IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA presents the next big thing in Filipino food at Islands on a Plate

Rustic bibingka.  A modern reinvention of the homegrown Philippine favorite rice cake during Christmas season.

Manila, Philippines ‐‐ This year, Filipino food and chefs have been getting rave reviews and international recognition for their culinary technique, creativity and usage of local ingredients.

National Geographic has listed Filipino food as one of the top food trends in 2019 with the food rave on Filipino-led eateries across the globe such as Washington DC’s Bad Saint and LA’s Lasa, Mamasons’ in London, as well as Filishack, The Adobros and Mamasons’ in London.

Filipino-American chef Tom Cunanan of Bad Saint finally won as the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic at the James Beard Awards, which is considered the “Oscars” of the culinary world.

Meanwhile, Toyo Eatery, led by Filipino culinary star Jordy Navarra, has recently entered the list of prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 as the only Philippine entry at rank 43.

As the world craves for Filipino cuisine, it begs a question: what is next for Philippine food?

“The next step for Filipino food is to channel all of its culinary technique, wealth of ingredients and traditions from a global sensation to actually become a mainstream staple on dining menus all over the world,” shared Pauline Suaco-Juan, the executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

CITEM is the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the agency that is mandated to promote Philippine food in different international exhibits in UAE, US, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, China and many more.

“The complexities and diverse flavors of our homegrown dishes are now being unraveled to the global audience thanks to the brilliance of Filipino chefs and restaurants abroad with their refined culinary techniques and choice of quality Asian ingredients, as well as the Philippine food exhibits overseas,” Suaco‐Juan said.

“Now is an exciting time for Philippine food. Our local cuisine is rising in the world of food and we want to push for Filipino food products, dishes and ingredients to become the next big Asian trend,” she added.

This statement comes a day before CITEM opens its gate to thousands of local and international food buyers and culinary influencers to check out what’s the next big thing in Asian food in IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA at the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM), Pasay City from May 24‐26, 2019.

According to Suaco-Juan, IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD Asia seeks to answer the question “What’s NXT in the world of FOOD?” by giving exhibitors from the Philippines and beyond a platform to showcase premium food exports, emerging trends, best practices, and industry innovations to the world’s biggest buyers.

A highlight of the event is the showcase of the country’s “Premium 7” export products, namely banana, coconut, coffee, cacao, mango, pineapple and tuna. Foodies attending the event can also relish dishes or products made with the “Rising Stars of Filipino food,” which include ube, calamansi, turmeric (luyang dilaw), moringa (malunggay), muscovado rice and heirloom rice, among others.

Open-faced mango and premium red tuna salad. A fusion of the corned tuna sourced from the pristine waters of  General Santos City with a tangy zest of fresh Philippine mango and mango poppers from Cebu.

“International foodies and chefs across the globe are welcomed to see, taste and experience the wealth of ingredients in the Philippines and see how they can use it in their own local dishes,” said Suaco‐Juan.

“We cannot wait to show the world what makes Filipino food a champion. We want the world to know that when it comes to food, the best in taste and quality can be found in the Philippines,” she added.

Islands on a Plate celebrates Philippine food

As the country’s biggest export-oriented food show, IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA is taking foodies all over the world in a gastronomic feast of Filipino flavors in the Islands on a Plate special setting.

This special setting will feature the heirloom cuisines and iconic food products from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with the inclusion of a Halal Pavilion, One Town One Product (OTOP) Pavilion and a Seafood Pavilion by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

It shall also have a special pavilion for food producers hailing from Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region and SOCCSKSARGEN, as well as the provinces of Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental and Taguig City.

“Foodies will be able to taste and get an intimate knowledge on the roots of the country’s most popular dishes and delicacies across the regions straight from the some of the same culinary minds who have made those iconic and part of Filipino culinary tradition,” explained Suaco-Juan.

Diners relish and take photos of the dishes served at the IFEX Philippines Media Preview.
Dishes were prepared using the Premium 7 export products and Rising Stars of Filipino food
to highlight the culinary strength of the Philippine top food exports and give a gastronomic
preview on what to expect on the Islands on a Plate special setting.

To highlight the use of the Philippines’ Premium 7 and the Rising Star of Filipino food, CITEM invited selected members of the media in an exclusive 12-course merienda cena dining experience presented with Via Mare and Chef Bea Nitard ingredients.

Taba ng talangka with roasted kinurat rice. Heirloom rice from Kalinga with a dash of coconut vinegar (pinakurat) and topped with aligue and ginger.

Included in the lineup of dishes were rustic bibingka, pirurutong bumbong, open-faced mango and premium red tuna salad, calamansi sherbet with pomelo bits; Cebuanong alimasag ala brandade gratinee; Batangas turmeric rice with chicken inasal; taba ng talangka with roasted kinurat rice; and champoradong waray with danggit. Also served for desserts were crème emperatrice, turon with chocolate and caramel filling, tropical fruit cake flambe and spicy chocolate ginger bombs.

“The abundance, diversity and flexibility of our local ingredients make the Philippines one of the best sources of food products and culinary inspirations in the world. You really just have to be at IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA to see, taste and experience it,” she added.

This year’s edition of IFEX Philippines is co-organized with the DTI’s the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT).

Visit to sign up for the event or to check out more details. Follow IFEX Philippines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get more updates on the event.


PH top food exports take centerstage at IFEX Philippines 2019: NXTFOOD ASIA

  • Presenting “NXTFOOD ASIA,” IFEX Philippines gears up to highlight the country’s “Premium 7” export products and the “Rising Food Stars.”
  • RAPID Growth project will also be launched on the first day of IFEX Philippines. The program is aimed to scale up agri-based farmers and MSMEs of lucrative commodities including cacao, calamansi, coco coir and coffee.


Premium 7
The Philippines’ ‘Premium 7’: banana, cacao, coffee, coconut, mango, pineapple and tuna.

A grand showcase of the innovations and culinary techniques behind the country’s top agricultural export products will be a major highlight of IFEX Philippines at the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) on May 24-26, 2019.

Presenting “NXTFOOD ASIA,” IFEX Philippines is gearing up to showcase the innovative use and culinary applications of the country’s ‘Premium 7’ namely coffee, cacao, coconut, mango, pineapple, banana and tuna.

IFEX Philippines is the country’s biggest and most respected business-to-business (B2B) event for Asian food and ingredients organized by the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM).

“Through this showcase of what’s next in Asian food, we want the global buyers to experience the Filipino food innovations that are being done with these commodities and see how they can use these products in the dishes in their respective countries,” she added.

The three-day event will also spotlight the roster of Philippines’ ‘Rising Food Stars,’ which include heirloom rice, calamansi, ube, pili nut, turmeric, moringa or malunggay, muscovado sugar, tamarind, dalandan and a selection of Philippine wines and spirits.

The country’s sauces and condiments will also be featured in the event. These include coco aminos, sarsa, fish sauce or patis, chili sauces, crab fat or aligue, shrimp paste or bagoong, sukang maasim, sukang tuba, sukang pinakurat, sukang iloko and balsamic vinegar, among others.

“To further highlight the Premium 7 and the Rising Food Stars, IFEX Philippines is gearing up for a delectable and sumptuous culinary showcase of the promising export products in the country as it sets the stage for the future of food in Asia,” said Suaco-Juan.

DTI to launch Php 3.7B project to elevate PH export commodities, agrientrepreneurs

To help strengthen the country’s major export commodities, IFEX Philippines will launch on its first day the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) project, which is led by the DTI-Resource Generation and Management Service (RGMS) and funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

An upscaling of the successful Rural Microenterprise Promotion Programme (RuMEPP), RAPID Growth is a Php 3.7-billion project that aims to propel agriculture-based processing enterprises and entrepreneurial communities to become innovative, productive and competitive so that they will be capacitated in meeting the challenges of the global market.

According to DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, RAPID Growth will primarily target four agricultural value chains, namely cocoa, coffee, processed fruits and nuts, and coconut.

“These four commodities have lucrative markets, social features and have the potential to provide sustained economic benefits to small farmers and enterprises,” Lopez said.

The project is set to target small farmers and micro-entrepreneurs engaged within the selected commodity chains, further targeting unemployed and underemployed rural women and men. Special focus will be on women, youth and indigenous people. It is set to be initially implemented in six regions, which are regions eight to 13 with 20 target provinces.

“In order to serve as models, four pilot provinces were chosen for each of the priority sectors from among the 20. These provinces are Leyte for its coco coir, Bukidnon for coffee, Davao del Norte for cacao and Agusan del Sur for calamansi,” Lopez explained.

The RAPID Growth Project was proposed to directly address policy commitments of the Philippine Government aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are of high relevance in eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.

Anchored in the government’s ‘Pagbabago’ pillar, this project seeks to address the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 target outcomes, which are (1) expanding economic opportunities and (2) increasing access to economic opportunities, including smallholder farmers and fisher folks. Likewise, through this project, the DTI is set to prioritize the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a key pillar of its economic program.

“Various products that are harvested or manufactured by local MSMEs have a huge potential in the export market. The launch of this project in IFEX Philippines shall help shed a light on these products as it elevates the emerging local entrepreneurs and farmer groups,” Lopez added.

To know more about the Philippines’ food export products, visit and sign up for the event. Follow IFEX Philippines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get more updates on the event.

FoodPHILIPPINES brings specialty food with success stories of social development in the 42nd WFFS

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.

Philippine food exports earned US$10.9 M sales in Thaifex–World of Food Asia

Synergy brings success.

This was proven true in the recent Philippine participation to Thaifex-World of Food Asia, which was made possible through the maiden joint venture of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc. (Philfoodex), the leading food industry association in the country, and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Philippines Pavilion
The Food Philippines Pavilion at Thaifex – World of Food Asia.

Thaifex-World of Food Asia, is dubbed as Asia's most influential food and beverage, food technology and retail franchise food trade event. The show celebrated its 10th edition on May 21-25, 2014 at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand, with a promised solid international growth and a 40% increase of exhibition space in the Fine Food segment.

The government, through DTI-CITEM, joined hands with the private sector in order to promote, sustain, and expand the Philippine food exports to Thailand and the rest of the world, resulting in a stronger and more successful Philippine participation in Thaifex.

"We are proud to co-organize this event together with Philfoodex, in bringing Food Philippines to Thaifex. It has been a very good avenue for our country's top selling export products to be promoted in Asia's influential meeting place for global players from the food, beverage, food technology, and retail & franchise industries," said Rosvi C. Gaetos, CITEM executive director.

Visitors and buyers
Visitors and buyers walked in stride the buoyant Philippines Pavilion at the Challenger Hall of the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center, Muang Thong Thai, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Philippines Pavilion, occupying a space of 198-sqm, housed 20 local food exporters represented by 56 delegates with its fine selection of processed food, snack items, specialty products, sauces and mixes, and beverages. Right after the event, the 20 companies generated a total sales of US$10,948,000.00 and 260 total inquiries.

Four Philippine companies were featured in the Halal showcase setting in Thaifex, namely: Agrinurture, MFP Home of Quality Products, Global Food Solutions, and Chef Tony's – a testament of quality and dependability of Philippine food exports.

The Philippine delegates
The Philippine delegates at Thaifex on Day 2, before the Opening Day of Thaifex.

In addition, the Philippines' Arabica coffee from Davao, won in two categories in the Roaster's Choice coffee awards. The local coffee brand named "Kapatagan", planted and harvested in the Mt. Apo ranges, and processed naturally by the indigenous tribe of Bagobo, won 1st in the Syphon category and 2nd Runner Up in the Espresso category. These are brought to the trade fair by the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc., a member of the ASEAN Coffee Federation (ACF). Said coffee awards gathered over 25 microlots from coffee farms in the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and other ASEAN coffee producing countries.

Among the local VIPs who visited the Philippine Pavilion were La Trinidad, Benguet Governor Nestor B. Fongwan and wife, together with Sen. Cynthia Villar's Senior Directors namely, Ms. Roselyn Enrique, Ms. Elizabeth Platero, and Atty. Rhaegee Tamana, who were assisted by a Koelnmesse officer Noli Nicanor and CITEM officer Ms. Rowena Mendoza, during their tour of the exhibition. Gov. Fongwan, upon seeing the scale and potential of the show for his constituents in Benguet, for their potato, carrots and other homegrown root crop and vegetable growers and exporters, highly considers organizing a group participation in Thaifex in 2015.

The said trade fair was likewise an excellent venue for CITEM to promote IFEX Philippines, the biggest food trade fair in the country, scheduled on May 21-24, 2015. CITEM project coordinator Ms. Rowena Mendoza met with various trade groups in Thailand including the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Thai Retailers Association, Thai Chamber of Commerce, and campaigned through Pavilion to Pavilion visits, for the promotion of IFEX Philippines, which will is coincidentally included as an official event of the APEC Summit in 2015.


In the advent of IFEX Philippines 2013, Asia’s Ethnic Food and Ingredients Show is offering a special promo for interested food companies.

The trade event is open to food manufacturers, retailers, consolidators, agents, distributors, cooperatives, institutional suppliers, food-related organizations, government and non-government agencies, and allied business support organizations.

IFEX Philippines is the best place to expand your business network to key global markets, prolific buyers, and retail giants. Book your space at IFEX Philippines and be part of the grand new show this May 2013.

For more information, please contact Ms. Vicky Arellano at


Philippine Food: Giving the World Appetizing Textures and Flavors

People world-wide have been sampling and savoring Filipino staples for years and with the growing Philippine exports and Overseas Filipino Workers, the demand for such staples from different parts of the world have increased. Tropical fruits like bananas, mangoes, and pineapples have become the country’s top selling export products and are internationally available as processed food items or raw ingredients.

The increase in demand for Filipino foods in the international market has done well for Philippine food manufacturers. Food companies get to join various international exhibitions, fairs, and selling missions, gaining knowledge from international food market.

With productive and lucrative results during GULFOOD 2011, the Philippines – with its contingent of 20 exhibitor-companies and five institutional exhibitors – is getting ready for GULFOOD’s 16th edition this 19 – 22 February 2012 at Dubai.

Philippine Food and manufacturers will also be showcased in other international food fairs like FOODEX Japan 2012 (6 – 9 March 2012) and SIAL Paris (21 – 25 October 2012), and selling missions to various other countries.

Read more about Philippine food