Philippine food companies participating virtually in the largest food and beverage trade event in Asia have been set a sales target of $14.05 million this year.

Ten Philippine companies will exhibit food products at FoodEx Japan 2021, the on-site component of which will be staged in Chiba in March, according to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM). CITEM said in a statement Wednesday that exhibitors and buyers can interact on an online platform until October.

This year’s sales target is almost 70% lower than the $45.5 million generated in 2019, which was more than double the $17.9 million target set by the Trade department. The trade show that year attracted 3,000 exhibitors and more than 80,000 visitors and buyers.

FoodEx was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Well before the pandemic, the Japanese have always had healthy eating habits, with the rest of the world now catching,” CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan said.

“We’re glad to offer to the world our tropical selections, grown on our country’s distinct terroir, which offer a new and flavorful component of wellness.”

The 10 food companies will also participate in the IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD Asia event this year. CITEM also recently launched an online food-sourcing platform, — Jenina P. Ibañez