PH ‘ube’ delicacy hits European market

THE popular Filipino ube (purple yam) delicacy is being promoted to cash in on the opportunity being offered by the growing “organic market” in Europe.

Maria Yvette “Ivy” Banzon-Abalos, the Philippine consul general in Frankfurt, Germany, and a known ube enthusiast, said the country’s consulate wanted to understand how the European export market has changed the tastes of Germans.

“One of the sectors that gained in the pandemic era was the organic market in Europe, particularly in Germany … we were surprised to find out that organic food consumption increased by 22 percent during the [Covid-19] pandemic,” she said in a recorded video interview with The Manila Times.

“I guess because people were more health conscious… they were buying the most healthful food under the circumstances that led to an increase in organic food consumption in Germany, so I thought, why not tap into this trend in Europe, as far as Philippine engagement in exports to Europe is concerned,” Abalos added.

Naturally organic

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“Ube is naturally grown in the Philippines without chemical fertilizers, so it’s a naturally organic product… we consulted a few experts who said it’s rich in anthocyanins… Organic agriculture has always been a dream export sector of the Philippines,” said Abalos.

More importantly, she said, is to see how the market is changing, especially in Europe. But she noted that Vietnam is exporting ube more than the Philippines does, and the rival has frozen types of yam.

“If we are not going to be savvy about the market, Vietnam could easily take over the Philippines in capturing the potential market for ube,” said Abalos.