Philippine Tuna, Tropical Fruits Make Waves in Japan’s Biggest Food Event

The FOODPhilippines pavilion at FOODEX Japan 2019.

Manila, Philippines – The Philippines’ tuna, tropical fruits and organic products received high demand from Japanese and other international buyers in the country’s recent participation in the 44th edition of FOODEX Japan last 5-8 March at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.

Sixteen local companies participated led by the Department of Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-CITEM). For this year’s participation, the Philippine delegation bagged more than US$45.53 million of export sales from more than 300 buyers.

Tuna is the top seller in the Philippines’ recent trade exhibit in FOODEX Japan.

“Our premier tuna, fresh and processed tropical fruit products, and other organic products have piqued the interest of buyers and generated most of the sales in our recent participation in FOODEX Japan,” said DTI-CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan. “The results of our participation have significantly surpassed our initial target of US$17.9 million.”

Tropical fruits showcased in Japan include banana, coconut, durian, papaya, pineapple and mango. Also highlighted were organic food, cakes and confectionary, shrimps and crabs, as well as powdered juice drinks of other locally grown herbs.

“We had great success in this participation since we were able to hit sales that is more than two times our initial target with tuna and marine products from Century Pacific Food, Inc., Citra Mina Canning Corporation and Phil-Union Frozen Foods, Inc. as our top sellers,” Suaco-Juan noted.

Companies who also joined the exhibit were Agrinurture, Inc.; Amley Food Corporation; Avante Agri-Products Philippines, Inc.; Celebes Coconut Corp.; CJ Uniworld Corp.; Coconut Cures; Inc.,/Mindanao Pacific Coconut Coop.; Grand Asia Integrated Natural Coco Products Corp; GSL Premium Food Export Corp.; Leonie Agri Corp.; Prime Fruits International, Inc.; Profood International Corp.; Seabest Food and Beverage Corp; and See’s International Food Mfg. Corp.

The International Food and Beverage Exhibition, popularly known as FOODEX Japan, is one of Asia’s largest exhibitions dedicated to food and drinks across Japan and the whole world. As a major gateway to the Japanese market, this year’s four-day event welcomed over 3,300 local and international exhibitors, as well as more than 80,000 buyers from the food manufacturing, service, distribution, and trading sectors across the global food industry.

“Japan is one of the leading importers of Philippine fruits and other tropical products. It is home to a wide variety of food and drink, and its population loves to experiment with both flavors and forms,” Suaco-Juan said.

“Our participation in FOODEX continues to strengthen our country’s promotional and branding efforts in this vibrant and lucrative market. Japan’s enormous potential also continues to inspire our food producers and manufacturers to come up with innovative products that suit the Japanese market,” she noted.

According to Suaco-Juan, healthy and natural food is still the major trend in Japan as seen in Foodex Japan 2019. Products are mostly low to no sugar, and some are labeled as “organic,” “gluten-free” and “100 percent pure.”

“Buyers often ask the exhibitors if products are organic or inquire on the percentage of sugar added to the products and some even ask if they could lower down or even remove the sugar additive. With the growing international demand for all things healthy, local companies can explore these ideas to better cater to the health-conscious consumers,” Suaco-Juan added.

(From left to right) CITEM Project Officers Alex Lucas, Erna Buyao, Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) -Tokyo Commercial Counselor Dita Mathay, Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V, Consul Charmaine Serna-Chua, and PTIC Adviser Hidehiko Nonaka.

Japan is the Philippines’ largest export destination for fresh food and the second largest market for processed food next to the United States in 2018. It is the third largest economy in the world which relies 60 percent on imports for their food supply.

“We invite buyers and food enthusiasts with a keen interest in Philippine and other Asian products to taste more of these in the upcoming edition of IFEX Philippines where we will present the next big thing in oriental food and cuisine under the theme ‘NXTFOOD Asia’,” Suaco-Juan said.

This participation under FoodPhilippines is part of the government’s unified efforts to promote the Philippines as a source of quality food products in the global market.

CITEM is the organizer of IFEX Philippines, which is the Philippines’ biggest export‐oriented food show, happening on May 24-26. IFEX Philippines 2019 will present “NXTFOOD ASIA” where it will showcase the latest food innovations, trends and best practices in the Asian food industry.

Interested companies who wants to join IFEX Philippines can visit
Stay updated with news and information from the Department of Trade and Industry by visiting their website at

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