PH chocolate takes centerstage at biggest food expo in Russia

Niel Caburnay Tero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2019 11:30 AM

MOSCOW, Russia -- Cebu-based Tablea Chocolate believes that the Philippines will become a major player as far as cacao supply is concerned in three years.

“Russians love our chocolate because it has the natural smell,” said Armi Lopez-Garcia, Philippines' honorary consul to Russia and CEO of Tablea Chocolate, which is participating at WorldFood Moscow, a international food and drink exhibition in Russia.

The event connects thousands of businesses from around the world with Russia’s key food and drink buyers, including retail representatives from Russia’s leading supermarket chains, wholesalers, the hotel, restaurant and café sector, and food manufacturers.

This year, the Philippines led by the Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Moscow together with 14 companies are taking part in the three-day food exhibition, which runs until September 27 at the Crocus Expo Center.

The Philippines’ other top exports such as tropical fruits and juices, banana chips, crackers and biscuits, virgin coconut oil and other coconut products, noodles, condiments, and fishery products were also showcased at the largest fall exhibition of world-class food products in Moscow.

“Russia is like the last frontier. The population and area can generate a lot. It will show more distinction na ito pala ‘yong Philippine food and it will show appreciation sa atin as a country,” said Arian Rose Jobel Arcinas, line manufacturing head of Monde MY San Corporation, which is joining the exhibition for the first time.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, Russia was the Philippines’ 21st largest trading partner in 2018 with a total bilateral trade valued at US$1.36 billion or 0.74% of total Philippine trade with the world valued at US$182.15 billion.

Exports of food products were valued at US$17.12 million in 2018. The top three Philippine food exports to Russia were desiccated coconut, other fruits, nuts, and bananas, including plantains, fresh or dried.

The DTI aims to bolster economic cooperation between the Philippines and Russia.

“We are now looking at Russia as an emerging market for Philippine exports as we take advantage of the improving trade relations of both countries,” DTI Trade Promotions Group Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said.