Eleven of the top companies in New Zealand showcased their products in Food Connection Manila, a one-day trade show held at the New World Hotel in Makati on Tuesday. Hosted by the New Zealand Trade Enterprise (NZTE), Filipino businessmen sampled their topnotch products, some of which are already familiar to local consumers.
Fonterra Brands Philippines Inc., a longtime company that sells Anchor dairy products in the country; Kono New Zealand, maker of wines and fruit bars; Te Pa Family Wines, another maker of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir; Santini Food Specialists Inc., maker of Whittaker’s chocolates; and Air New Zealand, the country’s highly distinguished airline.
While household names such as Anchor, New Zealand Ice Cream and Palm Corned Beef are already catering to Filipino consumers, some of the participating companies are still looking to distribute their products in the Philippine market.
“New Zealand products are known for their distinctive taste and quality and this is a great opportunity to showcase them to Filipinos,” New Zealand Trade Commissioner to the Philippines Hernando Banal said in a statement. “New Zealand takes its pride as a trusted food supplier, thus we make sure that every food product that comes out of New Zealand undergoes the strictest food safety and biosecurity measures.”
Present in the trade show was Leo Fernandez, a Filipino-New Zealander chef who was the finalist in last year’s “MasterChef New Zealand.” He impressed the trade show with his Filipino touch of New Zealand’s must-try dishes, such as New Zealand Greenshell Mussel kinilaw, corned beef hash rice croquette’s with caldereta sauce, and the all-time favorite Mango Float.
“I love the quality of products from New Zealand and I am on a mission to make Filipino cuisine famous in New Zealand,” Fernandez said.
There are 60,000 Filipinos employed in dairy farms and across the food-and-beverage sector in New Zealand. There’s no doubt that they play an integral role in maintaining the quality of Kiwi-made products in the Philippines.
“By word of mouth, that means we’ve got Filipinos coming home for the holidays and bringing relatives to New Zealand and they know about New Zealand cuisine. We learn about each other’s culture, including food,” New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan said.
As New Zealand firms make their way to grocery shelves and local services, Strachan believes that this will augment bilateral relations between the two nations and encourage Filipino businesses to invest in New Zealand.
He added, “Last year, the Philippines was New Zealand’s fastest-growing markets in the world for tourists. We’re very eager to do what we can to attract more goods and services [in the Philippines]. We certainly encourage more trade missions in this country, you go down to New Zealand and look for opportunity.”