SYDNEY – Filipino product offerings in Woolworths expanded to over 200 stores across Australia in spite of the pandemic after Australia’s largest supermarket chain increased its distribution of Pinoy food products to expand their reach to the Filipino-Australian community.
Filipino food favorites such as mixes and sauces, vinegars, noodles, savory snacks, halo-halo mixed fruits, canned sardines and tuna continue to be popular among consumers, according to Bob Harris, marketing consultant for DHN Trading, the importer of the goods.
“Some of the stores carry our full range of Filipino products while other stores are just starting with a few bestselling items,” Harris said.
Nearly 300,000 Filipinos live in Australia, making them the fifth-largest ethnic community in the country, government data show. But beyond this community is the increasing demand from other markets.
DHN Trading reported that the expansion of products in the mainstream supermarkets generated a lot of awareness and increased offtake in Filipino and Asian stores.
“The availability of Filipino products in Woolworths provides consumers with more options, convenience and accessibility, but we are also seeing a multiplier effect on small businesses as they provide niche products (lutong bahay, kakanins) and services (remittances, cargo and shipping services, TFC packages) catering to the community. Overall, the market expands and benefits both consumers and businesses,” Harris added.
Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega said “With Filipino food now more accessible in Australia’s mainstream supermarkets, along with hundreds of Filipino grocery or “sari-sari” stores across the country, we can have a taste of home and share it with our Australian friends too.”
Travel through Food
Australians can get a taste of the Philippines through the food products on offer and be able to cook a savory adobo using the Philippines’ popular vinegar and soy sauce brands. Aussies can also try making the Filipinos’ sweet style spaghetti using a well-known sauce or banana ketchup brand. For dessert, they can whip up a halo-halo using ready-to-mix halo-halo tropical fruits.
Chippy corn snacks, a childhood favorite of Filipinos and ubiquitous in barkada (mate) trips, picnics, and movie marathons on weekends, are also available for Australians to munch on during Netflix moments.
Aside from traditional Filipino products, Woolworths also carries healthy Philippine products such as organic coconut water, virgin coconut oil, coconut flour, banana chips, canned pineapples and other products.
One area the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry in Sydney is looking at is the possibility of supplying more premium products such as fresh frozen items and plant-based meat products. Another area of interest is sustainable packaging materials that are derived from abaca, banana and other fibrous plant-based materials.
“Sustainability matters and we know that this is also aligned with Woolworths’ mission of providing not only the highest quality products but also innovative and sustainable packaging solutions,” Alma Argayoso, the Philippines’ trade representative to Australia said.