One of the hottest emerging markets for U.S. pork and beef exports is the Philippines, where the 10th annual World Food Expo 2010 was held earlier this month.

Covering food and beverage, catering and hospitality services, food technology and retail, the four-day exhibition spanned two of Manila's major exhibition venues - the SMX Convention Center and the World Trade Centre.

The event attracted more than 50,000 visitors from the region, including about 35,000 food industry representatives. This was the second time for The United States Meat Export Federation at WOFEX - one of 820 exhibitors participating. As an additional feature at this year's event, the Philippines Chefs Association launched its first Philippines Culinary Cup competition.

"We're very bullish on the Philippines," said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. "There's a lot of optimism with a new president, Benigno Aquino III, who has pledged a new economic track, and confidence in the economy is growing.”

"There is a wide profile of meat buyers here - from processors all the way up to high-end steak houses," he continued. "So interest is strong in both U.S. beef and pork. But competition is also becoming more intense in the Philippines, so it's very important to have a consistent presence at WOFEX and maintain strong relationships with buyers and traders."

Processed U.S. pork items displayed included smoked brats, hot links, Polish sausages, cooked brats and cheddar smoked sausage.

In conjunction with its participation at WOFEX, USMEF-ASEAN also held a training seminar for supermarket staff in Manila, explaining the attributes of US beef and pork and the proper handling and storage of imported meats.

Through June, U.S. pork exports (including variety meat) to the Philippines increased 78 percent in volume over last year and nearly doubled in value to $62 million.

Source: The