Philippines: International Food Exhibition (IFEX) 2013

International Food Exhibit delegation coming to Brunei
Tony Alabastro

A Philippine Department of Trade and Industry delegation will be arriving in Brunei tonight for a four-day visit to promote the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) 2013, the Philippines’ most important trade centre for food, the Philippine Embassy said yesterday.

Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Nestor Z Ochoa said the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) is the biggest government-sponsored international food and beverage show in the Philippines, and the most preferred marketing venue for food exporters wishing to attract foreign and local buyers.

DTI’s Commercial Attache Alma Argayoso will lead the CITEM delegation, which will be meeting tomorrow, Monday, with the BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) Brunei Darussalam, National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Brunei Darussalam International Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Department of Economic cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Ministry of Primary Resources.

CITEM will also conduct a briefing tomorrow afternoon at the Philippine Embassy Chancery for local business representatives of companies engaged in seafood processing of prawn, muscle, cuttlefish and fish crackers, tapiocas, banana and potato chips, sesame biscuits, beef strips, chicken frankfurters with cheese, roast ribs, chili sauces, kueh cincin, kueh sapit, kueh mor, layered cakes, Brunei Halal products, canned goods, flour-based foods and spices, beef bakso, frozen and ready- made kelupis (sticky rice wrapped in pandan leaves), curry puff and steamed fruit cakes. Batik cakes, home-made pastries, different flavours of halal snow balls snack, and other processed food.

Relaunching itself as “Asia’s Ethnic Food and Ingredients Show”, IFEX will feature a bigger showcase of fresh, processed, Halal, and organic Asian food products, according to the Centre of International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), DTI’s export promotion arm.

“A main showcase, Halal Food Asia, exhibits Halal edibles and opens up the lucractive Halal food market worth US$632 market’s need. Over a billion Muslims live in Asia and it is where several centres for Halal standardisation, research, testing, production and international trade have emerged to cater to this market,” CITEM said.

CITEM said IFEX’s focus is on Asia and its importance as the world’s biggest source of tropical materials and as a rapidly growing market.

We have opted to defer the show in 2013 and make it biennial starting 2013, as we invite exhibitors from all across the region to join us and make this event an unmissable one for buyers, CITEM said.

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that 42 per cent of the more than US$4 billion global trade of tropical fruits comes from Asia – a region expected to supply 69 per cent of the world’s mangoes, 46 per cent of pineapples, and 20 per cent of papayas by 2014. Asia also accounts for two-thirds of total current aquaculture production and hosts 85.6 per cent of the world’s fish farmers, CITEM said.

Tropical fruits and seafood are two of IFEX’s main product showcase. Power Fruits of Asia, presents Asia’s major fruit exports such as mangoes, pineapples and papayas; and Seafood Asia, highlights Asia’s various marine products. Another main showcase is Halal Food Asia.

The 2010 IFEX in Manila attracted over 400 local and foreign exhibitors from Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Turkey, and USA, and close to 3,000 trade buyers and visitors from North America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific, CITEM said.

It has become a main sourcing hub for international food retailers, including Wal-Mart (US), FBC Worldwide (US), Mon Chong Loong (US), Hirasho Shoten Health Co (Japan), Heuschen Schrouff (Germany), manning Impex (UK). Wilby Commercial (Canada), the Americana Group of companies (ME),the Al Maya Group of Companies (ME), Shankar (ME) and NTUC Fairprice (Singapore).

“My experience with IFEX was very unique in terms of flavours and tastes. Beyond the food, there were some very fascinating, touching, compelling and spiritual stories, that made that very good food even more memorable,” US journalist and gourmet chef Louisa Chu told CITEM.

“I think IFEX is the best show for people like us, the distributors, to come and see what markets can offer, to find people and talk to the people on what they can offer potential suppliers, I think there’s a great future for IFEX,” Maciek Szala, a buyer from Poland, told CITEM.

“IFEX has so many new innovative products, something they do not have anywhere else in the world,” Tatijana Maglutac, a buyer from Russia, told the organiser.