Phl’s leading food trade event sizzles on opening day
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - May 18, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines 2013, Asia’s Ethnic Food and Ingredients Show sizzled on opening day with thousands of buyers and visitors trooping to the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Philippines last May 16.

The show was formally opened by top officials of the Philippine government led by Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr., Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) executive director Rosvi C. Gaetos, and Department of Agriculture-Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS) director Leandro H. Gazmin through a luncheon with the top grocers and buyers of IFEX Philippines.

They welcomed international participation from Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Dubai, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Marshall Island, Myanmar, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Samoa, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), and Vietnam and buyer delegations from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia/New Zealand, Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV), China, East Asia, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Middle East-Africa-South Asia (MENASA), Singapore, Taiwan, UK, and USA.

“IFEX this year is more international,” Domingo said, adding “you’ll see a lot of international exhibitors as well as international buyers, but the buyers will see for themselves the best of the Philippine products. I have already spoken to several of the big [buyers] and they said they will definitely buy products here.”

“In less than a decade, IFEX has become the most comprehensive and most distinguished food show in the Philippines,” Alcala said. The show is vital, according to him, in promoting the fisheries and agriculture sector of the country through DA’s Agri-Aqua Show.

Another highlight of the opening day was the innovative show feature, Grocer’s Exchange, which gathered 30 of the Philippines’ elite food exporters along with Asia-Pacific’s top retail chain operators to explore possible partnerships and business ventures.

“So far (IFEX Philippines is) interesting, I had a very quick look but it seems to be bigger than two years ago,” David Smith, Norway’s SmithMed says, “I like the trade fair here because it’s intimate and friendly, if you’ve never been to these trade fairs in Europe that are very big and impersonal. But I think IFEX is friendly and colorful.”

Local food exporters that included Franklin Baker, Goldilocks Bakeshop Inc., and Magic Melt Foods Inc., were given the opportunity to do business such as private labeling agreements and export order taking from international food industry players like Australia’s Metcash/Metfood Australia, China’s B&S Company, Beijing Hualien, Olive Tree, and Shanghai Dong Feng; Korea’s Cheil Jedang, E-Mart, and Pulmuone.

IFEX Philippines’ rich offering this year is also presented through the show’s three major halls – the Best of FoodPhilippines, International Hall and Retail Hall.

The International Hall highlights the flavors of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-The Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), with the special participation of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a pavilion of 20 companies offering agricultural products and services, and seeking partnerships with Asian suppliers and buyers.

In recognizing the importance and potential of the country’s small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), IFEX Philippines also instituted the Partner Province and City Program. This developmental initiative specifically for SMEs of Negros Occidental and Pasig City provide opportunities SME businesses to grow and be able to export their product lines.

Other notable features of IFEX Philippines 2013 included: Chefs-at-Work, Culinary Craft Spots, Food Industry Seminars, City Tour/ Food Artisan Tour, and After Hours.

Chefs-at-Work is a special corner in the exhibit for cooking demonstrations, a culinary competition, and the IFEX Barista Showdown.

The Culinary Craft Spots is a collaboration with the National Council for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which consist of live demonstrations by food artisans making traditional delicacies like Ilocos empanada (stuffed bread) and suman (rice cake), pili nut cracking, coffee art demonstration, and creating colorful pastillas (carabao milk candies) wrappers.

Food Industry Seminars are offered free of charge. On-site seminars are open for industry players to keep abreast of the latest market developments and innovations in the food industry.

City Tour/Food Artisan Tour offer IFEX buyers and guests options to explore Manila’s scenic sites and interesting food spots while the After Hours provide buyers and exhibitors with perks and privileges that they can avail from partner establishments outside of the show venue.

Since 2004, IFEX Philippines has been the country’s premier international sourcing hub and gateway to the finest Asian food and ingredients. IFEX Philippines is organized by CITEM, the export marketing arm of DTI in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture-Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS). The show will run until May 19, 2013.

For more information on the event, visit       


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