By Karen Galarpe IF YOU'RE in the food and beverage industry, you might want to set aside some time this month to check out the latest trends and innovations in the F&B industry. At the upcoming AsiaFood Expo (AFEX), Filipino and international players in the food industry are expected to converge at the World Trade Center on Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City to showcase new technology in food processing, packaging, machinery and equipment, and more. “AsiaFood Expo has remained an undisputed venue to showcase the Philippine competitiveness in the food sector as well as bring into the country the latest innovations and developments in the food packaging and processing sectors,” said Elmer C. Hernandez, Trade and Industry undersecretary and managing head of the Board of Investments. AFEX has been around for the past 18 years. This year, though, the organizer of the event, Trade Information Marketing & Exhibitions, Inc. (TIME Inc.) decided to split the event into three “so visitors will have more time to go around and discuss with exhibitors,” said Josephine P. Miranda, executive vice president of TIME Inc. The first event is the Food and Drinks Asia 2009, a full-scale expo that will show finished goods and introduce the business of finished food products and beverages to growing SMEs and potential entrepreneurs. The second event is the Food Franchising Asia 2009, which will present the newest ideas and solutions in the food franchising business. AFEX 2009 and FoodServe Asia is the third and culminating event. FoodServe Asia will be of interest to those in the catering and food service industry. All events will be held at the World Trade Center. Food and Drinks Asia and Food Franchising Asia will be held on September 17 to 20, while AFEX will be held on September 23 to 26. Product demos, business seminars, and cooking demos will also mostly be offered for free. Tickets are priced at P100 each. According to Miranda, they thought that there will be fewer exhibitors this year due to the global recession. However, feedback has been very good. Aside from participation by industry associations such as the Philippine Franchising Association, Philippine Food Exporters Association, Food Cart Association, Philippine Coffee Board, and private companies, foreign countries are also participating in the event. In fact, the U.S., France, and Taiwan will have pavilions showcasing their countries' products. Companies from Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia will showcase machinery. Some 38,000 visitors went to last year's AFEX. TIME Inc. is expecting this number to increase by 10 to 15 percent this year. “The Philippines is not lagging behind when it comes to trends. Sumasabay na rin tayo,” said Miranda.
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WE SEE the signs around us: more stores putting up "Sale" signs to entice more shoppers to come in, and less people eating out and buying clothes. Just how do Pinoys behave in a financial crisis like the current one? “Some people ask, ‘With all our economic problems, why aren’t people out on the streets? Where are the riots?’ Coping is an uphill battle that has left consumers frustrated and overextended, and this is even more true for those at the bottom of the pyramid, which is the biggest chunk of our population,” says Emil Avenido, research director of the Philippine Survey and Research Center-Research International (PSRC-RI). The reaction, says Avenido, is not aggression but of withdrawal: focusing on oneself and family. Family is very important to the Filipino. In times like these, the Filipino consumer will most likely respond in the following ways, says Avenido: 1. Explore all possible sources of income. Rather than mount or join protests, he would rather continue finding ways to provide for the family’s needs. He might, for instance, look for rakets or sidelines like direct selling; extend working hours to earn overtime pay; seek out loans via formal and informal channels; and start a small business. 2. Change lifestyle. This means cutting down on going out, eating out, and having gimiks. “This cuts across all socio-economic classes,” adds Avenido. 3. Change buying behavior. The lower classes downsize to using smaller SKUs like sachets (thus the popularity of shampoos, conditioners, and detergent powders in sachet packs). The upper class on the other hand, upsize to a bigger SKU since they can save more by buying bigger or in bulk, and they’ll need to buy less frequently. 4. Change consumption pattern. The consumer may substitute one product for another, decrease consumption of a product, or totally drop or exclude an item from his shopping basket, especially if it’s a non-essential item. 5. Change brand attitude. The consumer may start to weigh performance vs. brand equity. Choices become more practical where product performance becomes more important than the brand. 6. Decide based on price. For those at the bottom of the pyramid, price is everything. The cheaper the better. “This is like a desperate act,” says Avenido. 7. Become more prayerful. "People pray more and go to church more. This is not really surprising. Malakas pa rin ang pananampalataya ng Pinoy," adds Avenido. The high end market, on the other hand, may still continue their lifestyle and shopping habits, and this jives with what high end retailers have reported in recent months—sales are up. Avenido explains, “In a crisis, it’s always the middle and lower classes that are most affected. Luxury is a relative term. In the world of marketing, it’s all about being relevant—catering to a need. Luxury goods fulfill the needs of the upper crust. And if they can afford it, what would stop them from buying luxury items?” So how can companies adjust to consumer behavior during this time? “Stay relevant to your target,” advises Avenido. “The company’s survival lies on its ability to respond to this seemingly uncertain times. In the past, we’ve seen how brands can suffer by ignoring changes in the marketing landscape, and how some survive and flourish through these challenges, even during crisis. Marketers cannot ignore the voice of the consumer. Listen to the market. Consumers are searching for products and services that meet their current circumstances. People can grow away from friends and loved ones, so it’s no surprise if they can part with their regular or favorite brands.”
AT TIENDESITAS along C-5 near Ortigas Avenue, parking becomes a problem especially at dinnertime on weekends. Filipino families, balikbayans, and tourists flock to this shopping and entertainment village to buy locally made items (handicrafts, clothes, and more) and to eat. The choices are varied—you can have sisig, inasal, bibingka, Cebu lechon, tuna panga, kare-kare and more at the many stalls and restaurants. At the Activity Center, there is even a cultural dance presentation, with dancers showing off the traditional dances of the Igorots, Tagalogs, Visayans and Muslims. Recently, there seems to be a boom in restaurants specializing in Filipino cuisine in the country. On the fine dining and casual dining side, we have Abe and Fely J of the LJC Group; Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino at the Fort; Travel Café Philippines, Café Bola, and Sentro 1771 in Greenbelt; Adarna on Kalayaan Avenue in Quezon City; KKK at SM North Edsa Annex and Mall of Asia; Serye in Parañaque and Quezon City Circle; Pamana in Tagaytay; and so much more. On the fast-food side, Davao Tuna Grill is attracting loyal diners. In her talk “Next Big Thing in the Foodservice Industry” given at the Top Menu Masters 2009 Foodservice Conference at Blue Leaf Pavilion in Taguig, Nana Ozaeta, editor-in-chief of F&B World magazine, said Filipino cuisine is one of the next big things to watch out for. “Filipino is finally in,” she said. “There is more variety and sophistication. Filipino cuisine is not taken for granted anymore.” She noted too that a lot of Filipinos are now more interested in Pinoy food, and there is much research and media coverage (both local and international) being done now on Filipino food. In 2007, Andrew Zimmern featured Filipino food in his show Bizarre Foods. And last year, celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations and Bobby Chinn of World Café Asia went to the country to shoot and sample our dishes. The Philippines also made it to international food magazine Saveur’s December 2008 issue. So finally Filipino food is getting the attention it deserves. Good news for Filipino entrepreneurs in the food business and for all Filipinos as well :)
YES YOU read it right. The level of outsourcing to the Philippines is growing faster than in any other country, according to the Global Outsourcing Statistics Report released last December 15 by oDesk, the leading marketplace for online workteams for employers outsourcing technology jobs to certified, freelance developers and programmers. The report also states that the Philippines remains a popular destination for outsourcing work. Other popular countries include the U.S., India, Pakistan, Canada, Ukraine, and Russia. The bulk of the outsourcing jobs received by the Philippines is in the Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO) sector. This includes data entry and virtual assistants. India’s largest work category, on the other hand, is in the software and web development field. The report also divulged that the Philippines’ average feedback rating surpassed the oDesk average for the first time. The U.S. has the highest average feedback rating and the greatest number of providers. Here are statistics from the report: CANADA Total Number of Providers: 3,581 Average Hourly Rate Charge: $19.60 Average Feedback Score: 4.32 (out of 5.00) INDIA Total Number of Providers: 27,454 Average Hourly Rate Charge: $12.52 Average Feedback Score: 4.01 PAKISTAN Total Number of Providers: 5,960 Average Hourly Rate Charge: $11.13 Average Feedback Score: 4.36 PHILIPPINES Total Number of Providers: 17,213 Average Hourly Rate Charge: $6.33 Average Feedback Score: 4.30 RUSSIA Total Number of Providers: 2,721 Average Hourly Rate Charge: $16.86 Average Feedback Score: 4.31 UKRAINE Total Number of Providers: 2,929 Average Hourly Rate Charge: $15.96 Average Feedback Score: 4.36 USA Total Number of Providers: 52,637 Average Hourly Rate Charge: $18.32 Average Feedback Score: 4.40 Noticed something? The Philippines has the lowest average hourly rate charge. Good work at cheaper rates—no wonder we’re so popular. :) The report can be accessed here.
SOME OF the old established art galleries in Artwalk at the fourth level of SM Megamall are leaving the mall scene. Finale Art File, Gallery Genesis, and West Gallery will be moving out soon, says artist and gallery owner Soler Santos of West Gallery. According to Soler, Finale will be closing down its Megamall gallery this month and will concentrate on its new art space at La Fuerza Compound on Pasong Tamo Street, Makati. West Gallery, after 16 years in Artwalk, is leaving Megamall in February 2009 and will just operate its main gallery on West Avenue, Quezon City. High rent in malls has put a dent on art galleries’ incomes over the years. West Gallery, for instance, used to have branches in Glorietta 4 and The Power Plant, but closed them down a few years ago. Galleria Duemila left Megamall earlier, and now operates from its space on Loring Street in Pasay City. The trend now seems to be to locate art galleries outside central business districts to lower overhead costs. Doing so also allows galleries to have free rein over their storefront designs, which they cannot have when doing business in a mall as tenants. The Artwalk in SM Megamall was conceived as a venue to create awareness and bring art to the general public. This purpose has already been fulfilled, says Soler. “People have been exposed already to various kinds of art. Before, some would say, ‘Kaya ko rin ‘yan’ (I can do that too.) But we don’t hear those kinds of comments anymore. Nasanay na ang mga tao (People got used to it),” he says. Indeed, last weekend at Bago, the recent group show of young new artists shown at The Art Center in SM Megamall, people, both young and old, freely moved about and took in the artworks showing a variety of themes. The newer art galleries are still around at The Artwalk, such as Big & Small Art Co. and Renaissance. Of the original tenants, Crucible Gallery and Gallery Y are still holding the fort. Let’s hope they last long as looking at some art is like a breath of fresh air in a busy crowded shopping mall. (Photo shows part of Soler's current exhibit Stratus ongoing until October 7 at Finale Art File, Artwalk, SM Megamall. Photo courtesy of Soler)
TEN years ago, expectant moms had to make do with sailor-collared maternity tops, jeans of their husbands (as they would fit a growing belly) and blah inch-high shoes to go out. If one had a little baby, the mom would have to bring along bottles of milk (whether formula or breast milk expressed at home) since it would be such a hassle to do breast-feeding outside the home. The huge stroller would have to be brought along, since it would be too tiring to carry the baby all the time. But now there’s a whole lot of fashionable maternity clothes out there. Breast-feeding in public is a cinch with nursing bibs that allow babies to nurse discreetly. There’s even a sling moms can wear so they can carry their babies well for long periods of time. And the products for moms and infants have more than doubled over recent years: belly belts (maternity pants extenders), nappy clutches (fashionable diaper bags), breast milk trays (for freezing breast milk), massage oil for babies, parenting magazines, etc. It’s the age of hip parenting. Gen-Xers in their 30s and 40s are very much different from their own parents. They want to be more hands-on in raising their kids but at the same time retain their individuality. And they want only the best for their kids. Just ask young moms Denise Gonzales and Monica Eleazar of Indigo Baby. “We saw there was a need for young moms like us who wanted to embrace parenthood without sacrificing style, and, more importantly, our identities,” they say. Denise and Monica came up with the nappy clutch, a chic diaper bag that can be tucked into a handbag or worn on the wrist. The designs are eye-catching for the fashionista mom: zebra, camouflage, pucci, and Indigo Baby’s trademark combination. It can even be used as a real clutch bag, sans the diaper. They also sell the reversible nursing bib which makes a cool cover for mom and baby when breast-feeding in public. The bib can match one’s clothes. An organic bath and body line completes Indigo Baby’s product line. Jen CC Tan of Next 9 is a firm believer in attachment parenting, which advocates strengthening the bond between parent and child. When her sons were still babies, she used the baby sling (a product she got from abroad) which enabled her to “wear” her baby while moving about. “I had such a great experience wearing my baby. I wanted to share the feeling. Also I felt it was an important attachment parenting tool.” Jen and her partner felt that they can improve on the baby sling and make it suit the Philippine market by using lighter fabrics. They came out with the product, and developed some more, such as colorful cloth diapers and stylish maternity wear. When Janice Villanueva was breast-feeding her eldest, Coby, 11 years ago, she lamented the lack of breast-feeding blouses in the market. “There were a couple of brands of nursingwear available abroad then but it was quite expensive to order online or bring the brands in,” she says. That’s why Janice and her partner designed and produced their own line, Mommy Matters, available in department stores and also by delivery service to new moms who can’t go out yet. From nursingwear, Mommy Matters now carries other products designed to make lives easier for moms: the belly belt, diaper bag converters, nursing covers and breast milk trays. Seeing that moms need information about breast-feeding and parenting too, Mommy Matters is now also into events about these. Janice also publishes Mommy Pages, a free directory for moms for all things parenting-related. Market response, according to Janice, Jen, Denise and Monica, have been really good. But there’s room for more. “While the market we are targeting is a very niche one, moms are a passionate lot, so they love having many options for every single step, stage, task, activity of parenting. The more products and services to choose from, as long as it can help, enhance or compliment her parenting, the better,” says Janice. The McCann Intergenerational Study released last year -- a comprehensive survey which tracked 2,000 urban Filipinos aged 12 to 60 -- revealed that one of the mindsets of the Filipino is his being relationship-centered. Relationships, particularly with family, are top priority. It’s no wonder, then, that parenting products designed to strengthen the bond between parent and child have become a hit in the country.
IT used to be that all Filipinos had to do to look fabulous was to go to the neighborhood beauty salon. Now there are a whole lot of places to patronize if one is really vain or conscious about appearance: the facial salon, the spa, the medi-spa, the cosmetic surgeon, etc. Indeed, it seems that Filipinos have become more vain over the years, a fact observed by Faces & Curves’ Dr. Jesus “Jay” Recasata, Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife Dr. Sheila A. Recasata, a dermatologist. In the past eight years since Dr. Jay established his practice in Greenhills, he has seen the demand for cosmetic surgery and beauty services rise. “The prospects for the future are good,” says Dr. Jay. This is why in 2005, Dr. Jay asked his wife to join him in his practice and renamed the clinic Faces & Curves. Aside from surgical services offered (cosmetic, plastic, and reconstructive), the state-of-the-art clinic has since offered beauty services for the face, skin and body, all performed by board-certified doctors. Aside from having local clients, Faces & Curves also gets its share of foreign clients through the medical tourism program. A lot of their clients are balikbayans from the US, Japan, and Europe. Dr. Jay credits the Filipino doctors’ tender loving care and personal touch for the success of the medical tourism program. Prices for services in the Philippines are also more affordable. “Our rates are one-third that of US or Europe. Take breast augmentation, for instance. It may cost as much as $15,000 but will only run up to about $3,000 to $4,000 here,” says Dr. Jay. “The website is a big help,” says Dr. Sheila. Inquiries from all around the world have been pouring in through the website. Because of the clinic’s popularity, Faces & Curves opened a branch in Minato-ku, Tokyo called World of Beauty by Faces & Curves. Faces & Curves does about 30 surgeries a month but that doesn’t mean they do it on just about anyone. “We do a test first to see if you’re qualified to undergo surgery,” says Dr. Jay, citing one surgery they cancelled when a patient had a cough. He also refused one patient who he felt had too many surgeries already. “You have to look at it from a holistic view,” says Dr. Jay. Asked what the three popular surgery procedures are at Faces & Curves, the couple cites nose lift, liposuction and breast augmentation. But in the beauty department, the facial service is the runaway winner. At Weigh Less Center (Mendez Medical Group), facial services are also very much in demand, points out medical director Dr. Joel C. Mendez. “Filipinos just love to look good, and we are happy to make them look good,” says Dr. Mendez. His clinic offers many other services as well, from anti-ageing treatments to surgery procedures as well. There are many other beauty and medical clinics offering the same services in the country. But to get the best service, Dr. Jay advises people to look at the people behind the clinic. They should be board certified, he says. The future looks bright for the beauty business.
Whether in services, consumer goods, beauty and health care, or food business, each entrepreneur must stay on top of trends. Here is a regular Philippine Daily Inquirer feature that should give many of you an idea on trends that could complement your business. This is just an excerpt so if you want to read the entire article, click here. These are the fastest moving products in the various establishments: Jollibee 1. Chickenjoy 2. Yum burger 3. French fries McDonald’s 1. Chicken McDo 2. Burger McDo 3. French fries 4. Chicken nuggets 5. Big Mac Chowking 1. Chicken lauriat 2. Halo-halo 3. Siopao asado 4. Pork siomai 5. Beef wanton (spicy and classic) Goldilocks 1. Mamon 2. Ensaymada 3. Chiffon cake slices 4. Polvoron 5. Caramel popcorn SM Supermarkets’ best sellers 1. SM Bonus fresh chilled chicken 2. Gainplus Eye-Q 1.8 kg. 3. SM Bonus refined white sugar 1 kg. 4. Milo 300 kg. 5. Progress Gold 1.6 kg. 6. Gardenia white bread * * * Here are the top selling cars, hardware and more department store items. Best-selling vehicles for 2007 •Toyota Innova—10,544 units sold •Toyota Vios—8,717 •Honda Civic—7,603 •Toyota Fortuner—7,216 •Toyota Avanza—6,257 •Isuzu Crosswind—5,386 •Mitsubishi Adventure—5,087 •Honda CRV—4,388 •Honda City—3,926 •Toyota Altis—3,603 Handyman’s top selling items 1. Black and Decker drill 2. Do it Best Paint 3. High Gear Tire Black 4. Bow wow Dog Chow 5. Power Saver Max True Value’s best sellers 1. Aluminum Garden Gazebo 2. Monnaco Massage Table 3. True Value Paint 4. Smells Begone odor absorber 5. Webber BBQ Grills Microwarehouse 1. iPod 2. Linksys wireless products 3. Belkin peripherals 4. Apple computing products 5. iHome ACE Hardware’s 2007 best sellers 1. Cool air-cooling fan 2. Asahi cooling fan 3. Cool air industrial 18” fan with oscillation 4. Grand Prix contact cement (Rugby) 5. Baron Premium extended range antenna HBC 1. Hortaleza professional cuticle coat (hair varnish) 2. Body recipe calamansi soap 3. San san pressed powder 4. Hortaleza MD Glutathione drink 5. Ohm cologne (power) Toy Kingdom Express 1. Sony PSP 2. Nintendo DS Lite 3. Gameboy Advance 4. Nintendo wii 5. Playstation 3 SM’s Baby Company 1. Kids rider 2. Looney Tunes crib playpen 3. Looney Tunes stroller 4. Pigeon electric sanitizer 5. Pigeon feeding bottles
Wondering what level the peso will be at this year (against the dollar of course)? Perhaps you need it for your business strategy or for accounting purposes. Here is a running tally of what analysts and economists see for the peso this year. This feature of Open For Business will be regularly updated. So bookmark this blog! Citibank - P38 in Q1, P35 by yearend (as of February 4, 2008) American Express - P40 by yearend (as of December 27, 2007) HSBC -- P37.2 by yearend (as of January 25, 2008) Standard Chartered - P39.50 by yearend (as of January 25, 2008) JP Morgan - P38.50 by yearend (as of January 25, 2008) NEDA -- average P42 to P45 for 2008 (as of January 1, 2008) Former central bank governor Joey Cuisia -- P38.50 to P39 by yearend (as of January 29, 2008) PNB treasurer Ramon Lim - bottom of P38 for 2008 (as of December 31, 2007) Roland Avante, treasurer of Chinatrust -- P37 (as of December 31, 2007) Asia United Bank SVP and treasurer Antonio Agcaoili Jr. - P35 to P37 in 2008 (as of December 31, 2007) Jose Emmanuel Hilado, chief foreign exchange dealer at BDO -- break into P39 but only briefly (as of December 31, 2007) BNP Paribas - P30 for 2008 (as of December 31) Bear Stearns - P41 for 2008 (as of December 31) *INQUIRER.net does NOT recommend these figures. They are published only for readers’ information. INQUIRER.net will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained from this blog.
(Photo from AFP) If you believe the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), businesses in the consumer sector will continue to have a profitable year in 2008, despite the appreciation of the peso. Read this article:
MANILA, Philippines -- The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has downplayed concerns that consumer spending, a major growth driver of the economy, may be dampened this year by the continuing strengthening of the peso. Myrna Asuncion, NEDA director for policy and planning, said personal consumption would remain a major contributor to the country’s economic growth this year. “Although [the value of] remittances shrinks with the appreciation of the peso, more Filipinos are landing higher-quality jobs that provide better salaries,” Asuncion told reporters Thursday on the sidelines of the NEDA news briefing on the economy’s performance in 2007. Better salaries mean that these overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can send more dollars to their families in the Philippines, thus sustaining the growth in personal consumption. Also expected to fuel growth in personal consumption this year is the expected increase in the number of employed Filipinos. The National Statistics Office, an attached agency of the NEDA, earlier reported that unemployment rate settled at 6.3 percent of the country’s labor force in October last year, marking a full percentage-point drop from the 7.3 percent recorded in the same month in 2006. The peso has risen by close to 20 percent last year and this means that more dollars are needed to pay for local goods and services. This gave rise to fears that personal consumption would be constrained this year, as many Filipino families rely heavily on money remitted ances brought in by some eight million OFWs. In 2007, personal consumption grew 6.0 percent, compared with 5.5 percent in 2006. The faster growth in consumer spending was credited partly to the unabated increase in remittances from OFWs. Net factor income from abroad, which includes remittances from OFWs, grew 12.6 percent in 2007, slowing down from 13.3 percent in 2006. Critics said the slower growth could eventually pull down growth of personal consumption.