Food manufacturing, which includes food and beverage processing, remains the Philippines most dominant primary industry. The industry is worth a gross added value of more than $2 billion and grew by 3.2 per cent in 2007. The Philippines Bureau of Food and Drugs Statistical Report of Establishments for 2004 lists a total number of 11601 food processing establishments nationwide.
Most of the companies are owned by a single proprietor that is common among micro, cottage and small industries. There are a few large multi product firms, some of which operate in partnership or as a subsidiary of foreign or multinational companies. Unlike some other countries in the regions where multinationals dominate food sales, local companies such as San Miguel, RFM Corporation, Universal Robina Corporation and a few others dominate some sectors of the market or compete equally with foreign players.
The food processing industry is comprised of the following major sectors: fruits and vegetables, fish and marine products, meat and poultry products, flour and bakery products, beverage and confectionery, dairy foods, food condiments and seasonings, food supplements, bottled water; snack foods, and fats and oils. Local food processors are faced with numerous challenges in order to maintain market share or when introducing a new product , now that a wide variety of imported processed foods readily enter the market due to increased trade liberalization.
The industry contributes approximately 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum. Domestic processors continue to face numerous challenges, including one of the highest energy costs in Asia, the need for improvements and innovations in technology and packaging in order to become more globally competitive, insufficient post-harvest and storage facilities, and inadequate farm-to-market transportation infrastructure. There has been considerable improvement, particularly for the bigger companies whose financial capabilities are able to support expensive capital outlays. Some companies have qualified and are ISO certified. However, there are still a significant percentage of Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) processors, especially in provincial areas.
Food and beverage imports as per the Philippines National Statistics Office totaled $4.7 billion in 2007 from all sources and an estimated 60 percent of these are raw materials or ingredients used in food processing. Wheat, dairy products, processed potato products, and meat and poultry for further processing beef topped the list of imported raw ingredients.
The United States has remained the top exporter in total value per country in 2007 at $770 million, followed by Vietnam ($507 million), Thailand ($356 million), New Zealand ($320 million), China ($290 million) and Argentina ($282 million). As a group, combined exports of ASEAN reached $1.36 billion. Wheat, dairy, dried peas, potato products and meat/fish extracts are the top food exports from the United States. (Note: Trade data cited above from the World Trade Atlas. U.S. Census data indicates U.S. food and agricultural exports to the Philippines in 2007 at a record $1.1 billion.)