The 2016 SikatPinoy National Food Fair: A Taste of Every Kitchen Corner of the Philippines
How many flavors, textures and ingredients can you distinguish in your favorite Filipino food? How can one province's version of a Pinoy staple look and taste so differently from another region's take on the same type of food? Can't make up your mind on what foodie goodies to give to your balikbayan relative or foreigner guest?
The Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (DTI-BDTP) will answer that, and much more, when it holds the 2016 SikatPinoy National Food Fair from March 16 to 20, at Megatrade Halls 1-3 at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.
Within that expansive area, over 100 exhibitors from the country’s 18 regions will offer their best-known delicacies and culinary specialties. The food categories include meat, fish and marine products; processed fruits and vegetables; ingredients, sauces and condiments; wines and beverages; coffee, tea, and cocoa' bakery products, snacks and confectioneries; organic, herbal and natural products; and food supplements and vitamins.
Themed “Piling-Piling Pagkaing PIlipino,” the SikatPinoy National Food Fair is part of a series of national trade fairs held by DTI-BDTP to help promising small and medium enterprises (SMEs) —especially those from the regions — reach a wider domestic market and, hopefully, prepare them for the export market.
In the highly competitive food industry, the key to national and global business success lies in the quality, not the quantity, of the commodity. Towards this end, the selection committee of the SikatPinoy National Food Fair exhausted all of two days to carefully screen potential exhibitors.
DTI-BDTP Dir. Rhodora Leaño explained that during the selection process, representatives from entities such as the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), and the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), sat down as a group to scrutinize each food item.
Products need to be screened using the following criteria: Product quality and safety; packaging and labeling; market potential; and the manufacturer’s production capacity. The screening committee then had to arrive at a consensus on the merits of these items. “Products must achieve a grade of at least 80 percent to be able to make it to the Fair,” Leaño stated.
Leaño urged the public to do the same when they visit the SikatPinoy National Food Fair. "During the five days of the event, exhibitors will offer a lot of product samples. Participate. Try as many as you can, because the Fair also offers the public the opportunity to experience Filipino food done or prepared in new ways."
And for visitors who have a mind to venture into their own business, Leaño revealed that the Fair could help fast track their plans. "We'll have booths of government agencies related to the food industry, like the Food and Drug Administration and the FNRI. We encourage would-be food entrepreneurs to network with these agencies during the Fair, because these are the agencies that such businesses will be eventually dealing with."
Interesting sidelights of the Fair also include competitions for best food packaging and most innovative products, as well as cooking demos.
The SikatPinoy National Food Fair also mirrors trends in the food industry today. Leaño shared that "halal-certified" products are on the rise, both in supply and demand, "and that is what visitors will most likely notice in several items that will be on exhibit," she noted. Halal, an Islamic term, pertains to food that has been sourced, prepared and processed that is permissible under Islamic Shariah law. Halal, in recent times, has expanded its market to meet a global demand for safe and healthy food that even non-Muslim prefer.
And, looking at the bigger picture, Leaño has high hopes for the exhibitors, saying: "What we are ultimately aiming for is to be able to help these small and medium enterprise participants penetrate much bigger markets."
Admission to the 2016 SikatPinoy National Food Fair is FREE. For inquiries and more information, call the DTI-BDTP at 751-3223, or email email@example.com.