WITH THE RAPID EVOLUTION OF CONSUMER FOOD PREFERENCE and the growing demands for food production that goes with increasing population and stronger spending power, the agri-food sector remains the biggest employment sector in the ASEAN community accounting for 38% of its work force. As such, the agri-food industry is a top-ranked priority for the ASEAN integration, with bulk of their economic growth, trade and investments depending on it. However, there is much to be accomplished for its sustainable growth and development by raising land productivity and ensuring market demands.
The ASEAN agribusiness is also gaining power in export trading. Latest studies present great opportunities for intra-ASEAN trade in agri-food. Albeit a smaller share of 2.5% to total exports as compared to a 4.3% share of extra-ASEAN exports to total exports, its growth has significantly doubled from 2008-2011 with more growth potential projected if the ASEAN is able to achieve harmonization of standards across all its participating countries and address the technical barriers to trade.
With the rise of globalization of food trade, the challenge of keeping up with the changes in consumption and demand as incomes rise with population growth and greater economic prosperity remain. The rise of wealth and spending power result to greater consumer demand and a change in diets require more variety and nutritious food at affordable prices. These changes in urbanization and consumer behaviour are also evident in the shift of raw materials sourcing - from small farms to modern supermarkets. Food manufacturers and retailers may take advantage of this shift as great opportunities present themselves in the rise of global groceries and the increase of processed food exports. According to the Institute of Grocery Distribution, Asia’s grocery markets are forecasted to surpass Europe and North America combined within the next 4 years.
These evolving trends will be the central theme of the 15th Philippine Food Expo scheduled on at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Manila, Philippines.
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