After signing in RA 10817 or the Halal Export Development and Promotion Program Act in 2016, various departments in government have come together to implement a comprehensive plan for the progress and marketing of Philippine-made halal products for export.
In line with this initiative, CITEM, the exports promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry, has been sending Filipino representatives to Gulfood since 2018. Gulfood or The Gulf Food Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire is a renowned international platform dedicated to the food and beverage processing in the MEA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Held annually in Dubai, it has cemented its reputation as one of the biggest gatherings of food and beverage industry key players and decision makers, a stage where the latest tastes, trends, and innovations are unveiled.
This 2022, the Philippines once again sent a contingent composed of SMEs with Halal certification showcasing our local products at par with the best in the world. These are manufacturers and exporters of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables; processed marine products; ethnic and gourmet products; non-alcoholic beverages; confectionery, biscuits, and pastries; and other food and beverage categories.
There were over 40 Filipino SME exhibitors in this year’s Gulfood. To be able to fully utilize the 135 square meter space, the Philippine exhibit adopted a hybrid format that is both a showcase for products with 2 to 3 pods for online negotiations between buyers and exhibitors. Notable participants in Gulfood this year are coming mostly from the coffee and cacao industry; coconut producers and manufacturers; plant-based food and health ingredients; and innovative fruit and marine products.
It is important for the Philippines to be represented in Gulfood because it is vital for our food and beverage industry players to maintain their presence in the region. The UAE is ranked number 1 in all things halal including fashion, travel, media, recreation, and of course, food making it the most important import market. It is also good to note that this is the first overseas CITEM trade show participation to fully benefit from the digital food industry promotions platforms IFEX Connect and Food Philippines. This can only enhance the Philippines’ participation by enriching the sourcing experience for both exhibitors and buyers beyond the exhibition dates.
The success of this event would not have been possible if not for the support of the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB); Philippine Trade & Investment Centers (PTICs) in Dubai and Jeddah; the RAPID Growth Project; and government partner Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).