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Philippines: Food products from RP capture China interest

Philippine food producers who participated recently in an Outbound Business Mission (OBM) to Guangzhou and Shenzhen, China reported that Chinese buyers and consumers have taken much interest in their products.

The participants to the OBM specified that crab paste and “laing” (gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk) drew interest from Chinese buyers and consumers.

Ready-to-consume products, such as banana chips, polvoron, and calamansi were also popular. Tropical fruit purees, juices, and concentrates, such as mango, calamansi, and coconut also drew interest from  them.

Rosemarie Castillo, Business Development Manager for Food of the Department of Trade and Industry said that the crab paste and laing conform to the trend for “fancy food,” which is very popular with the young, the young-adult, and middle-age consumers. These segments of the market consider crab paste and laing as ideal for spreads and/or toppings for bread and biscuits.

However, the Chinese buyers noted the strong need to greatly improve the packaging of these food products, particularly for the snack/biscuits, calamansi juice and banana chips for these to be sold in retail.

For instance, the buyers recommended that tetra packaging be used instead of cans for calamansi juice. For laing, they recommended that the packaging should be handier.

The Chinese buyers also noted that labeling must be adapted to the local China market conditions. Labeling must be in Chinese characters and conform to Chinese food and health standards.

Fourteen representatives from seven companies participated in the OBM. These companies had 45 business meetings, out of which was generated an initial projected sales of US$ 230,736.00 for delivery in the next six months or US$ 307,648.00 in the next eight months. In addition, negotiations between the Chinese buyers and Philippine food exporters and product development are on-going.

OBM participants include Agrinurture Inc., Master J. Food Products, Padday Na Lima Marketing Association, Navarro Food International Inc., Sasmuan Delicacies, Fams Food Products-Villamater, Asap Tagudin (Samahan Ng Magkakalamansi Developmennt Cooperative).

The OBM was not limited to one-on-one business meetings. Other activities were scheduled to give the participants first-hand information and experience about the Chinese market.

They visited the WASDON Global Food Market (WGFM), which is a professional display and trade center for imported foods and drinks located at the Guangzhou Free Trade Zone. WGFM is a year-round exhibition with 7,000 square meters display area in a three-story building. WGFM is part of the Wasdon Food Co. Ltd.
Aside from year-round exhibition, WGFM offers sales through Wasdon’s chain stores, wholesale network, supermarkets. WGFM can also help in label certification, transportation, quarantine and inspection, quarantine and inspection, and brand registration in China.

They also attended a seminar conducted by the Shenzhen Food Manufacturers and Importers Association, where they learned more details on selling to the Chinese market.

To find out the array of product offerings, prices, packaging, and trends, the participants conducted store checks on hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

OBM members participating for the first time in international trade fairs realized that in China’s case, sales may not be consummated during the first meetings and may come only after building of business relationship and product development are attained.

The OBM was organized by the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP) in coordination with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Guangzhou, headed by Trade Service Officer Emmanuel Ang.

The OBM is part of the on-going initiatives of the Department of Trade and Industry to break into the huge Chinese market. China has a population of about 1.33 billion. In 2007, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached US$ 7.04 trillion, up by 11.4 percent from the 2006 level. GDP per capita is US$ 5,300.00.

In 2006, Philippine food products exports to China reached US$ 50.15 million, growing by 4.64 percent from US$ 47.93 million in 2005. In 2006, China is the 10th export market for Philippine food.

Philippine food exports to China comprised mainly of fresh fruits (60.75 percent), processed fruits (17.79 percent), confectionery and honey (910.55 percent) and marine products (2.85 percent).


Publication date: 1/19/2009


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