IFEX NXTFOOD ASIA 2019 proves
PH products are world-class
Text and Photo By Monsi A. Serrano
The International Food Expo (IFEX) Philippines 2019 has been hailed a success based on feedback from visitors, buyers, and attendees.
With the theme NXTFOOD ASIA, the 13th edition of IFEX Philippines showed not just the best products of the Philippines, but also the unparalleled Filipino creativity on how the booths of each company was conceptualized and perfectly created to impress the visitors.
“This IFEX event is more diverse than before. We can see not just delicious products, but also healthy and nutritious products,” said Mr. Crispin K. Go, owner of a Malate restaurant called La Scala Café. “What’s more is that the packaging of the products are impressive, world-class packaging.”
Spotted on the first day of the IFEX was celebrity entrepreneur Deniece Cornejo, who praised the local food entrepreneurs who came up with such products as fruit chips for snacks to replace the traditional junkfood. “These snacks are more healthy and better to eat for children,” she said.
Even Ambassador of Hungary to the Philippines Dr. Jozsef Bencze, expressed his fascination, saying: “This is amazing! More than the food that are being showcased, the booths were really impressive as each booth showed a particular theme that are unique to each other.”
The Hungarian Ambassador was particularly impressed with the Northridge booth with the theme, Filipino fiesta. He said the colorful booth truly represented the olden tradition of how Filipinos celebrated a certain festival.
North Ridge Food, being one of the Philippines’ biggest and major exporting companies that supplies Filipino products abroad is known for their fabulous Filipino inspired booth in the IFEX together with their partner manufacturing companies like Mekeni, Seaking, Wow Mani by Nut-in-Else, Eng Bee Tin Hopia, Alfonso cacao and chocolates by JAMLA, Saba sardines and mackerel, Saranggani Bangus, Don Benito’s Cassava cakes and pichipichi, Sabanana by Villa Socorro Farm, Lydia’s Lechon special sauces, Sugo Peanuts, Lemon Square, Tuka, Jim’s Cofffe, Zamboanga Fish crackers and many more, all in one huge “Barangay North Ridge Pavillion.”
Cold storage stars
One new concept introduced in IFEX 2019 was the Cold Storage. It showcased the Philippine seafood products, one of the main attraction of which was the sea eel by Asmaros Global Corp., a Filipino owned family corporation whose main products are authentic unagi kabayaki and frozen unagi fillet.
The company operates the only eel farm in Asia, outside of Japan, that is certified by the Japan Agricultural Standard (JAS). ASMAROS highlights its use of Japanese systems and technologies in producing top quality unagi kabayaki sourced from Philippine seas.
ASMAROS Global Corp. Chief Executive Officer Ging Roslin told THEPHILBIZNEWS that he never expected the IFEX 2019 would pave way to a big demand and bigger market outside the Philippines for his seas eel. “I was overwhelmed when the Japanese approached me and told me their volume for sea eel. And this is a very good problem and it excites me,” Roslin said. “Right now we are serving prime Japanese restaurants and hotels with Japanese restaurants. With this new opportunity knocking on our door, who are we to refuse? We will definitely plan for this as Asmaros is committed to provide the service that our clients deserve”, he added.
Other companies that participated in this section were San Miguel Corporation (SMC), owner of Purefoods and Magnolia Chicken, San Miguel Beer and a lot more; CDO Foodsphere, Fisherfarm, Universal Canning Incorporated, Mega Sardines, Kablon Organic Farm, from Tupi South Cotabato, Malagos Farm of Davao City, Hobe noodles by Marikina Foods, Virginia Foods from Cebu.
Even Department of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez did not hide his delight over the IFEX 2019 reception of the people. As keynote speaker, the Trade Chief said that he was happy to welcome the various diplomats who took part of the opening of the country’s Food Expo.
At the same time, he was overwhelmed by the kind of excitement shown by the Very Important Buyers, members and officers of the diplomatic corps and other foreign guests and buyers.
The IFEX NXTFOOD ASIA also presented the Philippines’ Premium 7 ingredients such as cacao, coffee, mango, tuna, banana, pineapple and coconuts.
There were more than 2,000 international and local buyers that joined in the country’s biggest food event. And there are more than 600 food exhibitors who also participated to showcase their products coming from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This food expo being the biggest and the most prestigious food show promotes not just the best of Philippine products but also the diverse and reach culture of the Philippines as manifested in how the booths of the exhibitors are designed.
The numbers have not come in yet, but around P10.5 billion worth of export and domestic sales are seen to be generated by IFEX from this show.
The IFEX Philippines 2019, held last May 24-26 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) and the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), was organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the DTI.
On the sidelines, THEPHILBIZNEWS caught up with CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan. She said: “This is really something exciting and new. Thus, we decided to rebrand IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA, it was clear with us what we want that goes beyond the rebranding of the name. We want fresh show features and special activities for trade buyers and visitors coming from all over the world. We added the cold storage and this would pave way to introduce our seafood products.”
“Given these changes, we expect to increase awareness about what Philippines got, draw their interest and enthusiasm and hopefully be translated to a higher sales for both our international and local exhibitors. This is also one way to show our support to our Filipino manufacturers and companies,” the Suaco-Juan said.