By Manik Mehta
NEW YORK, July 2 (Bernama) — The three-day New York Fancy Food
Show (NYFFS), which ended Tuesday, may not have produced windfall
business for the Asian exhibitors, including nine from Malaysia, but
they were, nevertheless, “satisfied” with the overall result.
“You dont come here to sign contract. In fact, the contract comes at
the end of a protracted process of negotiations,” said Nancy S.Y. Hsu
of Taiwan Trade Development Council, which promotes the islands foreign
Hsus views were echoed by Malaysian exhibitors, many of whom were happy with the business contacts they had made at the show.
Lee Chee Bun, export manager of Ace Canning Corp Sdn Bhd, said he was
at NYFFS to meet the company’s existing customers and to look for new
distributors in countries where it did do not have any representation.
“Our exports to the US amount to some RM5 million a year. Because
of American leaning towards health-conscious foods, our soyabean drinks
contain Omega 3 and 6 supplements and are adapted to different tastes
of our customers. American customers are getting used to Asian products
and tastes, making our task easier,” Lee told Bernama.
Nick Johnson, who represents Kuala Lumpur-based Care Food
Industries Sdn Bhd in the US, said Malaysian food could be popularised
through food service and franchising of restaurants.
“The Malaysian Government could spend money to educate American
consumers about Malaysias food culture which would increase food
exports and also business opportunities.
“Malaysian food will be the next coming category because its
cuisine is so diverse, representing the three main food cultures of
Indians, Chinese and Malays. The Hispanic food culture in the US lifted
the taste of American consumers to the next level of spicy food as a
result of which Americans are now open, more than ever before, to Asian
foods,” he said.
CEO of Kuala Lumpur-based Sals Food Industries Ltd, Norita Datuk
Jaafar, said her company used the “Retort” technology, with which the
shelf life of food could be kept for as long as two years.
“We offer all kinds of ready meals for busy people and those who cannot cook.
We export some 35 percent of our production.
“We are exhibiting here for the first time and we have been able
to close a deal here with an importer with whom we had already been
negotiating for quite sometime. We have even received enquiries from
Japan,” she said.
Vagn Fausing, who represents Kawan Food Mfg Sdn Bhd in the US,
said Malaysian products were getting “more and more sophisticated” and
were meeting global requirements in terms of content quality and the
external presentation of the product.
“This show provides us with market intelligence about trends,
competition, business potential, etc. It gives us feedback that
vegetarianism is getting popular in the US,” he said.
Fausing said the show proved to be “very good” because it received a steady traffic of visitors.
Wan Latiff Wan Musa, the New York-based Malaysian trade
commissioner, said although the NYFFS was a “local show”, it could not
be ignored because of New Yorks economic significance for the US
He said Malaysian exhibitors had received “serious business enquiries” that could translate into good business.
Wan Latiff said Malaysians could not afford to miss this show because
of rising interest in Asian foods which were produced in good, clean
and modern environment along with good manufacturing practices such as
His emphasis on quality seemed to make sense to Malaysian exhibitors as
they saw the more than 50 exhibitors from China in the same hall.
Buyers in the US are wary about food imports from China which
recently received a bad press because of tainted products and poor
An American buyer of Asian products said China has an image problem as far as the quality of food products was concerned.
“Malaysia does not have this problem. It should maintain its high
quality standards, if it does not want to share the same fate as
China,” the buyer said.
Malaysias food exports in 2007 amounted to US$374.83 million
(US$1=3.27) a 16.5 percent increase over 2006. Malaysias exports of
foods to the US for the period January-April of 2008 amounted to
US$143.34 million, a 23.5 percent increase over the year-earlier period.
The total global US food imports for the January-April 2008 period
amounted to US$20.14 billion, a 6.2 percent increase over the year