Philippines food exporters to bring local flavors, top Halal products to Gulfood 2022 in Dubai

DTI Photo

The Philippines is set to showcase its finest tropical food selections, top halal-certified food products, and unique local flavors at the Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition Salon Culinaire (Gulfood), one of the world’s biggest food and hospitality industry expos. The event will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates from 13 to 17 February 2022.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the Philippine delegation to Gulfood 2022 is the biggest yet, with 39 food export companies offering a variety of Philippine food products. The country seeks to strengthen its presence within the Middle East and African (MEA) region with Philippine halal-certified products, high-value coconut products, and other distinct and quality food products.

CITEM will spearhead the country’s hybrid participation in a 135-sqm space at Gulfood 2022 for both onsite and online exhibitor participants. The onsite pavilion will be located at Booths R140 and R160 of the Sheik Rashid Hall, while a virtual showcase of Philippine products will be available via standby terminals that will provide access to and

Visitors will also be able to browse the exhibitors’ products through an interactive LED display and connect with the exhibitors through digital on-site pods. Queuing pods will be also provided for prospective buyers who wish to schedule a meeting with a particular exhibitor or request on-site assistance.

Attendees will be given opportunities to conduct virtual business-to-business (B2B) meetings in collaboration with the Export Marketing Bureau, Philippine Coconut Authority, and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai.

“This will be the first CITEM overseas trade fair that will benefit from our updated content and lead generation platform for the local food industry, and Our recently-launched websites will provide the best 365-sourcing experience for both buyers and exhibitors,” says Paulina Suaco-Juan, Executive Director of CITEM.

IFEXConnect is a digital platform that allows users to source Philippine food products, connect with exhibitors, and access support services. On the other hand, FOODPhilippines is a digital platform that gathers chefs, industry experts, and food enthusiasts worldwide to share insights and news on Filipino food. The community platform features stories on Philippine ingredients, flavors, processes and techniques, recipes, heritage, culinary talents, and regional specialties.

“We are bringing a holistic-sourcing experience through a mix of digital and physical showcases in the pavilion that will act as the onsite storefront of IFEXConnect. It will showcase the exhibitors’ products in a curated retail store-like setting and these products can be viewed online through the QR codes that we set in place,” Suaco-Juan adds.

This year’s 39-strong delegation is composed of the following companies: Agrinurture, Inc., Brandexports Philippines Inc./8VX Corporation, Business Innovations Gateway, Inc., Century Pacific Food, Inc., CJ Uniworld Corp., Federation of People’s Sustainable Development Corp., Fenor Foods Corporation, Fisher Farms Inc., Fruits of Life Inc., Gem Foods International Inc., Greenlife Coconut Products Philippines Inc., Innovative Packaging Industry Corp., Janicahh Food Products, JNRM Corporation, KLT Fruits, Inc., Krystle Exports Philippines Inc., Limketkai Manufacturing Corp., MagicMelt Food Inc., Marikina Food Corporation., Market Reach International Resources, Mega Global Corporation, Miguelitos International Corporation, Pasciolco Agriventures, Peter Paul Philippines, Philippine Grocers Food Exports, Inc., Q-Phil International Trading, Sabroso Chocolate Manufacturing, SandPiper Spices and Condiments Corp., SL Agritech Corporation, Unilab Inc. /Sekaya Global, Universal Canning Inc., Cocoturmeric Health Products, KF Nutri Foods International, Inc., AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corporation, Nutrarich Nutraceutical Innovations, Ahya Coco Organic Food Manufacturing, Gacayan General Merchandise, PMTZ Care Marketing, and Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation.

From this delegation, expect to see halal-certified food products such as high value coconut products, plant-based food products, processed marine, fruit and vegetable products, frozen native delicacies, noodles, coffee, cacao nibs, spices, condiments and more.

As one of the world’s biggest expos for the food and hospitality industries, Gulfood has historically attracted huge numbers and key players in Dubai. This year, more than 98,000 professional attendees from 120 countries are expected to discover different productions of over 5,000 exhibitors from a wide range of product sectors. Gulfood 2022 marks the 17th participation of the Philippines in the expo. It is also one of the business events that support the Philippine National Week in Expo Dubai.

Currently, there are over 148,929 Filipinos living in the UAE—the third largest expatriate community in the West Asian country, next to Pakistanis and Indians. There is also a rising number of Filipino restaurants and city centers in the UAE, as more franchises are catering to the growing demand for Philippine food products.

Data released by PTIC Dubai indicates food exports from the Philippines to the MEA region went steady in 2020 amid the pandemic. High-quality fruits such as mango, pineapple, coconut, and other fruits and plant-based products constantly enjoy high demand and meet Halal production standards. The country’s participation at Gulfood seeks to strengthen this demand further.

Halal food culture is also thriving in the Philippines due to its increasing Muslim population. As of 2021, around 7.9 million or 8% of the country’s total population are Muslims. Islamic belief has also been in the country since the 14th century, creating a deeply rooted appreciation of Islamic faith and culture among Filipino Muslims.

“This year’s participation in Gulfood is a testament to our commitment to export more halal-certified products to the world as our companies and institutions continue to develop more products and seek new ways to reach Halal consumers worldwide,” adds Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman of DTI.

The Philippines’ participation in Gulfood 2022 is made possible with CITEM’s partnerships with the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai and Jeddah; the RAPID Growth Project; and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). The consolidated efforts of these offices are all in support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their recovery amid the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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