Local exporters urged to go green

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s exporters are being urged to consider global agricultural food trends particularly health-inclined and organic products.

According to the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), local exporters should take advantage of the latest research findings on global food and beverage trends for the year if they want to tap more global markets.

A report from US-based global information company Nielsen showed increasing demand for organic produce from Western countries as consumers are now focusing on simpler ingredients and less processed foods.

“Organic products are increasing in quantity across shelves and categories in stores. In US alone, volume sales of products with an organic claim on the package grew 13 percent in 2016,” Nielsen said.

The Organic Certification Center of the Philippines noted that the country has been exporting organic products such as muscovado, fresh banana, banana chips, dried banana leaves to Europe, Japan, Canada, and the US as demand has been growing rapidly in these areas.

Global communications marketing firm Edelman, for its part, noted the trend toward health and wellness including coconut water, vinegar-based drinks, turmeric elixirs, charcoal juices, and even algae water.

“Snacks and dishes featuring plant-based foods like seaweed, duckweed and algae could also provide solutions for problems like sustainability and food security,” it said.

Edelman also expects  halal-certified products to step up this year. The global halal-market is pegged at approximately $2.6 trillion.

In the Philippines alone, a 100-hectare area in Zamboanga is being developed into a manufacturing base for export-quality halal products as the government aims to position the country as the halal industrial hub of the region.

Edelman said artisanal beverages are also becoming an acquired taste in the global set-up, diverting from the traditional cocktails and beers to various categories such as cider and coffee.

“There is also growing trend for transparency and authenticity in food and beverage, which has sparked a slew of clean labelling efforts in developed markets to ensure consumers that their food comes from recognizable ingredients,” the firm said.

Philexport earlier said demand for the country’s food products in the export market was gaining more ground as the government focused on diversifying its international markets.

It added that consumers in new destination markets are eyeing products that are not easily available in local stores but are widely produced or grown in the Philippines.

Under the Philippine Export Development Plan 2015-2017, among the government’s key goals for next year is to diversify markets and products for domestic exports.

The Export Development Council said more outbound business missions are being planned for next year.

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