SparQbites by: Peter Burton

Ending 2016 on a strong note by growing at 6.8% of GDP for the year, the Philippines is receiving increased interest from foreign companies looking at how they can leverage on this promising market. The Philippines has gradually built itself as one of the best performing economies in the world, now outperforming its Asian neighbours in terms of growth including China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Significant and sustained growth has resulted in an emerging middle-class in the Philippines. The new and young demographic are highly exposed to international products, appreciate quality and increasingly have the disposable income to spend. Filipinos generally have diverse tastes; the country is a melting pot for Eastern and Western cultures and cuisines.

The Philippines is a consumption driven economy of 103 million people. The local food and beverage industry, excluding alcoholic beverages, is worth an approximate £65 billion (4 trillion Philippine pesos) and expected to grow by 7.7% in 2017, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% until 2021. The alcoholic beverage industry is expected to grow at a similar rate in 2017.

Big British brands such as M&S, Costa Coffee, Waitrose and more have found success in the Philippine F&B industry and are expanding their coverage. The momentum of these big brands will help smaller foreign brands by creating a greater awareness for the quality of British products.

Some challenges to exporting are working with a trusted partner and logistical costs. Whilst the government has made improvements in streamlining processes and reducing red-tape, much can still be done to make processes more efficient for importing F&B products. However, the potential of the market makes these obstacles manageable.