Japanese food firms want to diversify exports to Philippine market — NSAJ

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SOME Japanese food companies are keen on diversifying its exports to the Philippines, according to the New Supermarket Association of Japan (NSAJ).

“The dissemination of Japanese food products in the Philippines, we’d like to further explore possibilities in the Philippines. We’ve got some of our larger companies like Meiji, Nissin. So we’d like to further explore what possibilities we have of further diversifying our Japanese products here in the Philippine market,” NSAJ Exhibition Section Manager Tetsuichiro Tomihari told reporters in a briefing in Makati yesterday.

The group is banking on the participation of Philippine companies in the Supermarket Trade Show to be held in Chiba, Japan next year to help boost the number of products being traded by the two countries.

The trade show, which will feature over 2,500 Japanese firms from various regions in Japan, is expected to attract 86,000 attendees from the retail industry.

“We will be holding this trade show to share with the various attendees the diversity of our food products and likewise to give you more information about our supermarkets. The aim is to offer the latest information about the food distribution industry, and the focus is on supermarkets,” Mr. Tomihari said.

This will be the 52nd trade show of the organization, whose members include around 6,000 leading supermarkets in Japan.

So far, Mr. Tomihari said they are expecting two Filipino firms to exhibit their products at the trade show, with 10 to 20 more expected to participate.

The trade show will also give Filipinos the opportunity to enter the Japanese market, and help address some concerns that has limited the growth of Filipino products being exported to Japan.

“In particular with regards to Philippine food safety standards, especially the use of additives, that’s their primary concern. Because retailers are concerned about the safety of end-users. Similarly how Philippine products would match our lifestyle,” Mr. Tomihari said.

Mr. Tomihari described Japan as an aging population, where 26.6% of over 125 million people recorded in 2015 are aged 65 years old and above. With this, he explained there is an increase in the rate of fresh products being purchased per household.

“Philippine food businesses would really have to think about their menu and think what is relevant to the Japanese market. They really have to sell to the consumers,” he said. — Arra B. Francia