9 Food Startups to watch at IFEX Philippines

Some of most innovative food startups from all over the Philippines are gathered in a global gastronomic showcase at IFEX Philippines. Don’t miss them in the last two days of the country’s largest food show on May 20 – 21, 2017 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) and Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC).

  1. Take Root – Partners Monica Mendiola and Aileen Payumo-Whisnant will be presenting their flagship product, Kale Chips, which started a kale-munching craze in the Philippines. Founded in 2014 with the goal of providing junk-free, whole food, plant-based snacks to Filipinos using locally-grown produce, Take Root makes healthy eating as accessible and enjoyable as possible. Their Kale Chips are made from pesticide-free, dried kale leaves grown by family-run farms in the Philippines.
  2. 7 Grains – Embracing the healthy food revolution, 7 Grains Pantry caters to food alternatives. The company produces Skinny Carbs, popular with the young and health-conscious market. It uses konjac or shirataki noodles which has been dubbed the “Holy Grail” of dieting in Japan and US whole food stores. The company also makes Skinny Veggie Chips, a crispy snack made of cassava, moringa, squash, carrots and spinach; Skinny Tomato, a healthy version of ketchup using real tomatoes, organic coco sap sugar, and less sea salt than commercial brands; Skinny Seasoning, using gluten-free liquid aminos which is a nutritious alternative to high-sodium soy sauce; and Skinny Soup Base, an alternative to bouillon offering less sodium and less calories.
  3. Coco Dolce by The Free Food Co. – Satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthy chocolate fix. Coco Dolce chocolates are sweetened using coco sugar making them a better alternative to the chocolates you usually crave. Made by Davao-based company The Free Food Co. these rich and creamy Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate bars come in Chili, Pili Nut and Rice Crisps variants. Coco Dolce sources their cacao from Davao farmers at fair trade prices and works closely with farmers who are committed to produce quality organic products that adhere to international standards.
  4. Natural Health – This newcomer makes a range of tropical-inspired fun snacks and supplements including Superfood Trail Mix, Fruit+Nut Bar, Coco Sugar-Coated Cacao Nibs and Toasted Coconut Chips. The snacks feature ingredients sourced within the country. According to Brand Manager Ria Villanueva, their easy-to-use pantry substitutes such as Coconut Flour, Stevia, Coconut Oil and Coco Sugar, are sought after for their low-glycemic and gluten-free properties.
  5. Coco Wonder – Promoting many different products made of coconut and cacao for a healthier life style, the aptly named Coco Wonder under its founder Andy Albao, works directly with farmers to produce a wide range of organic food. Watch for new snacks like coconut chips, coconut nachos, coconut pita bread, coconut wrapper and coconut water, in addition to its staple products Virgin Coconut Oil, Coconut Balsamic Vinegar, Coconut Cider Vinegar and Coconut Liquid Aminos. It also makes Coconut Worcestershire Sauce, Coconut Barbeque Sauce, and Coconut hot chili sauce.
  6. Raw Brown Sugar Milling Company – The Dumaguete-based company produces organic muscovado sugar, now available in several forms – powdered, cubed, rocks and syrup. In less than seven years, the products have penetrated markets with highest and strictest food safety standards, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the United States and several countries in Europe.
  7. Theo and Philo Chocolate Factory – Recognized for their vibrant packaging of chocolate bars that heralded the boom of the local chocolate maker movement a few years ago, this brand is now setting its sights on foreign markets. In addition to the classics, the brand’s unique local twists on flavors including labuyo, green mango and salt, barako and dark chocolate with calamansi.
  8. Hacienda Macalauan – This small-scale dairy farm has been around for a while but its premium quality dairy products are now available to more people. Known for milk, cheese, cream and yogurt, their products also expanded into white cheese or kesong puti, ricotta and cottage cheese. They now make coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water and organic flour.
  9. Chocolaterisa – Owner Pam Cinco makes elegantly packaged Risa Chocolates using the purest chocolate-making standards. Meticulously handcrafted with the finest ingredients, the product line includes bars, pralines and truffles in classic as well as innovative combinations.

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Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.