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A delegation of Filipino food exporters and members of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry's Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) successfully completed an Outbound Mission (OBM) to London during the last week of October. The event was organized by the Philippine Trade & Investment Centre (PTIC)-London in cooperation with the EMB, and timed a week after the SIAL food trade show in France which the delegates attended.

The Philippine delegation consisted of representatives of export companies Brand Exports Philippines Inc./Profood International Corporation (coconut based products, fruits, various other products), JUD Products Philippines, Inc. (coco sugar), and Marigold Manufacturing Corporation (various food mixes and condiments), and Director Senen Perlada and Ms. Rorie Castillo of the EMB.

The objectives of the OBM were to have the delegates immersed in the diversity of the product assortment and store formats in the London food landscape, be educated on the rigorous food quality standards and certifications required in the UK and EU, and secure commercial deals with UK buyers.

The week started with Store Visit Day, as participants were impressed with the wide range of brands, product forms and packaging available in the UK retail market. Filipino products were displayed in Tesco and Filipino grocery shops although distribution was still minimal. Huge opportunities existed for Philippine Foods to be more prevalent and popular in the UK.

Meetings with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) were also organised. These training sessions were extremely helpful in understanding the detailed requirements in UK food standards and certification. A learning session-dinner was also set up to have exporters learn from Filipinos in UK who have previously sold to UK retailers.

A key objective was for the Filipino food exporters to have the opportunity to showcase their products via actual face-to-face selling with UK buyers, from buyers for big grocers to Oriental food importers to own label manufacturers. Feedback from UK buyers on the Philippine products has been extremely positive. The OBM was seen overall as a busy and productive week, and the first of many more possible interventions to promote Philippine Foods in the UK.