Ba­nana play­ers told: Keep up with trends

Sun.Star Davao - - BUSINESS - By Jen­nie P. Arado

THE Philip­pines should keep up to the pref­er­ences and cur­rent trends in the ex­port mar­ket in or­der to re­main com­pet­i­tive in ba­nana ex­port, said a De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) of­fi­cial.

Dur­ing the sec­ond day of the Ba­nana Congress held at the SMX Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, SM Lanang Pre­mier on Oc­to­ber 13, DTI – For­eign Trade Ser­vice Of­fi­cer Jose Ma. Din­say said the cur­rent trends and de­mands in the ex­port mar­ket in­clude fresh­ness and health­i­ness of the prod­ucts, speed and con­ve­nience, and trans­parency and sus­tain­abil­ity.

He men­tioned that the top ba­nana pro­duc­ers of South Amer­ica like Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Columbia are now eye­ing ex­pan­sion to Asia.

He said in his four years in the United States and another four years in the Mid­dle East, he ob­served how the ser­vices of dif­fer­ent gro­cery stores and there prod­ucts had changed and im­proved to­gether with what the con­sumers are look­ing for.

“To an­swer to the need for con­ve­nience, a prod­uct was de­vel­oped and it’s a na­ture-based fresh­ness en­abler for ba­nanas that is mak­ing fresh ba­nana snacks a re­al­ity. By dip­ping the ba­nana slices into the so­lu­tion, the nat­u­ral char­ac­ter­is­tics are re­tained with­out in­flu­enc­ing the taste and the prod­uct doesn’t con­tain sul­fites, al­ler­gen, or GMO. Maybe sooner or later, our ba­nana prod­ucts will be shipped to other coun­tries us­ing this tech­nol­ogy. There’s al­ready a tech­nol­ogy that would an­swer the need for con­ve­nience,” Din­say said.

He also added that one of the cur­rent trends re­lated to con­sumer health is the pro­mo­tion of or­ganic agri­cul­tural crops and their by-prod­ucts. Din­say said the top com­peti­tors of the Philip­pines in terms of ba­nana ex­port are al­ready ven­tur­ing into grow­ing or­ganic ba­nanas and he urged Filipino ba­nana grow­ers to keep up as well.

In Ja­pan, they have mar­ried this need for healthy food and tech­nol­ogy by launch­ing ‘Talk­a­ble Veg­etable’ wherein small de­vices that looked like their rep­re­sented veg­etable can be con­versed with and they tell peo­ple in the su­per­mar­ket their health ben­e­fits or any­thing about this spe­cific veg­etable.

In the Philip­pines, said Din­say, as ba­nanas are the coun­try’s top ex­port com­mod­ity, a few by-prod­ucts of ba­nana had also been launched in­clud­ing pack­aged saba, ba­nana chips, and frozen turon (which

are ready to be fried), pro­vide con­ve­nience and speed to the con­sumers. He said this is one of the start­ing ways that Filipino ba­nana play­ers can cope up with the ever-chang­ing de­mands and trends of the mar­ket.

How­ever, as com­pared to the other ba­nana cat­sups in other parts of the world, the Philip­pines’ is the only ba­nana cat­sup that is color red. The oth­ers use yel­low ba­nana cat­sups. He said this is fine for lo­cal con­sump­tion since Filipinos are used to it. But in or­der to ex­port Philip­pine ba­nana cat­sup while keep­ing up with the global de­mand, he said the man­u­fac­tur­ers should keep in mind the re­ac­tion im­porters would have of red ba­nana cat­sup when they’re used to the yel­low ones.

He also cited a num­ber of ba­nana by-prod­ucts in­no­va­tion that can very well be repli­cated in the coun­try such as Peter Rab­bit Or­gan­ics ba­nana puree and Bare fla­vored ba­nana chips that have cin­na­mon and co­coa-fla­vored prod­ucts among oth­ers.

“The mar­ket now is still in fa­vor of ba­nanas be­cause they are healthy, con­ve­nient, and we have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­vide in­no­va­tion. We are not here to only re­cover. We are here to win against our com­peti­tors, against other coun­tries,” said Din­say.

JPA

DTI For­eign Trade Ser­vice Of­fi­cer Jose Ma. Din­say en­cour­ages ba­nana play­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers to come up with ba­nana byprod­ucts that go ac­cord­ing to the cur­rent trends and de­mands of the global mar­ket.

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