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US Pork Gains Popularity in the Philippines

by 5m Editor
25 August 2010, at 9:18am

US - One of the hottest emerging markets for US pork and beef exports is the Philippines, where the 10th annual World Food Expo 2010 (WOFEX) was held earlier this month.

Covering food and beverage, catering and hospitality services, food technology and retail, the four-day exhibition spanned two of Manila's major exhibition venues - the SMX Convention Center and the World Trade Centre.

The event attracted more than 50,000 visitors from the region, including about 35,000 food industry representatives. With support from the Pork Checkoff and Beef Checkoff Programmes and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), this was USMEF's second time at WOFEX - one of 820 exhibitors participating. As an additional feature at this year's event, the Philippines Chefs Association (Les Toques Blanche Philippines) launched its first Philippines Culinary Cup competition.

"We're very bullish on the Philippines," said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. "There's a lot of optimism with a new president (Benigno Aquino III sworn in 30 June) who has pledged a new economic track, and confidence in the economy is growing.

"There is a wide profile of meat buyers here - from processors all the way up to high-end steak houses," he continued. "So interest is strong in both US beef and pork. But competition is also becoming more intense in the Philippines, so it's very important to have a consistent presence at WOFEX and maintain strong relationships with buyers and traders."

USDA Choice beef items displayed at WOFEX included tenderloin, top blade muscle, bottom sirloin flap, tri-tip, chuck roll, chuck tender and hanging tender. Prime cuts included ribeye roll and beef ribs. Processed US pork items displayed included smoked brats, hot links, Polish sausages, cooked brats and cheddar smoked sausage.

In conjunction with its participation at WOFEX, USMEF-ASEAN also held a training seminar for supermarket staff in Manila, explaining the attributes of US beef and pork and the proper handling and storage of imported meats.

Through June, US pork exports (including variety meat) to the Philippines increased 78 per cent in volume over last year (to 32,620 metric tons or 71.9 million pounds) and nearly doubled in value to $62 million. Beef exports increased 66 per cent in volume and nearly 50 per cent in value, totaling 4,873 metric tons (10.7 million pounds) valued at $12.9 million.