Why packaging is key for PH food exports

by Fidea Encarnacion, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 17 2014 10:27 AM | Updated as of Apr 17 2014 06:27 PM

MANILA – Packaging has a big role in export of local goods and shall play a big part in competing with import products come 2015, an official from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

When asked how locally produced products are faring compared to other Asian countries with similar products for export, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya told ABS-CBNnews.com that DTI is working on efforts to encourage both start-ups and growing companies to improve on packaging.

Packaging of products continues to have a big impact on how goods sell and functions for longer shelf life.

“That's really what we are now pushing, that we improve in packaging — not only in the design but also to improve the shelf life kasi that's very critical. When you have to go out of the country and want to go further, kailangan maganda ang packaging mo.”

Maglaya said that among the “hot” food trends right now include processed foods and seafood, including ‘pasalubongs’ like sweets and delicacies.

However, some of the challenges producers are facing are problems on getting permits, licenses, and completing requirements of foreign countries.

For businesses to successfully move to exporting their goods, all factors must be considered —both with local and foreign laws and requirements.

“Now, the permits, licenses, [and] requirements of foreign countries are very strict. We have to learn also what the requirements are… I think what is important now is we also have the right standards for our products here.”

Maglaya said that the efforts are also in accordance with the ASEAN integration by 2015, wherein locally produced products must also compete with products to be imported by other countries.

“As we open up more and more by 2015, you're talking now of competition here. Hindi lang yung bebenta ka sa labas, dapat yun yung kalaban mo, yung papasok din dito. So, we really have to make sure that our quality is good, and [that] we all comply with all the requirements of the FDA.”

Maglaya encourages start-up and small businesses to expand and formalize operations. She said that DTI has programs which can help in training and in expanding businesses.

“That's what DTI wants to make sure. That's why we have training programs [on] improving quality, how to comply with requirements.”

“[We really] want them to work with us to simplify the procedure… otherwise, they'll only be selling in their own town.”