TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Food Taipei 2023 got underway June 14 at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, spotlighting food products and technologies from around the world. There were 23 national pavilions, including the U.K. and Japan's Kyushu, which made their debuts at the show.
The Taiwan pavilion at this year’s expo features products from 79 companies. The pavilion is divided into five areas to showcase the country’s diverse agricultural output and innovative production methods, namely: Exquisite Agricultural Products, Livestock and Poultry Products, Aquarian Products, Prepared Food, and Local Specialty Products.
The theme for this year’s pavilion is “Farm to Table – Secret of Temperature.” Organizers have designed the "Temperature Code" area to showcase Taiwan’s supreme cold chain system, which can effectively reduce production losses, maximize efficiency and boost its international competitiveness.
Vincent Lin, Director General of the International Department of Council of Agriculture, noted that thanks to the joint efforts of farmers and fishermen, food manufacturers, and government agencies, Taiwan’s food exports have continued to grow over the past few years, despite challenges posed by the pandemic.
Japan and Kyushu Pavilion
Japan Pavilion. (Taiwan News, Keira Chang photo)
Japan has been a consistent participant at the Food Taipei expo for 18 years. This year, 57 food manufacturers from 22 prefectures joined the expo, almost double the number of companies that joined in 2022.
Japan and Taiwan have a very close trade relationship, with nearly 20% of Japan’s food exports going to Taiwan, according to data from the Japan External Trade Organization. Visitors to the expo can sample everything from wagyu beef and high-quality matcha-based products to fresh fruit and seafood, alongside a huge variety of alcoholic beverages and snacks.
This was also the first year that companies from prefectures in Kyushu jointly organized an expo area representing the region. Among the most eye-catching displays were high-quality beef from Saga City and fresh mentaiko, or pollock roe, from the waters of Fukuoka. The well-known Yame green tea is also displayed in the Kyushu pavilion.
Other must-try products include Fukuoka natto, or fermented soybeans, and bubble tea pearls made from seaweed. Natto from Fukuoka has a lighter flavor than most natto products, making it more palatable to Taiwanese. Seaweed pearls are a tasty, zero-calorie substitute for tapioca pearls used in Taiwan’s famous bubble milk tea, and may just spark a new healthy trend in Taiwan’s tea shops.
Japan Kyushu Pavilion. (Taiwan News, Keira Chang photo)
Central America and Paraguay Pavilion
The Central American Trade Office booth included the Guatemala and Belize pavilions. Guatemala Ambassador Oscar Adolfo Padilla Lam said this year it was promoting the “Sello Blanco (White Seal)” program, which intends to promote the products of Guatemalan micro, small, and medium enterprises. Lam said products on display include coffee, salsas, chips, shrimps, macadamia nuts, lemon, and honey.
Belize Ambassador Candice Pitts said the Belize pavilion features marine products, including the nation’s lobsters and shrimps. Cacao bean products such as cacao paste, natural frosted cacao beans, cacao mixed nuts, chocolate, cacao tea, and hot chocolate powder are also on display. In addition, Belizean rums and wines and the country’s premier hot sauce, Marie Sharp’s pepper sauces, will be featured, she said.
Paraguay Ambassador Carlos Jose Fleitas Rodriguez said there are 25 Paraguayan vendors this year. Some of the products showcased include organic yerba mate, the national drink of Paraguay, herbal teas, cookies and crackers.
(Taiwan News, Kelvin Chen photo)
An Eswatini embassy official said the Eswatini pavilion features 10 traders promoting coffee, honey, bean jam, dried chili, sugar, cherry pepper, nuts, and gin and vodka from her home country. The official said Food Taipei “has not only been a business opportunity to us but it has also given us the pleasure to share and appreciate our cultural traditions, values and aspirations with our Taiwanese friends.”
The event has also helped build “valuable” business relationships and expanded Eswatini’s market reach, which in turn has contributed to the growth and development of local industries, she added.
“We are committed to showcasing the best of Eswatini to the world and to promoting sustainable development, innovation, social responsibility in our industries,” the official said.
At the Lithuania pavilion, Representative Paulius Lukauskas shared the nation’s diverse chocolate, beer, sauce, organic oil, and egg products. “Three of our biggest beef companies have been greenlighted to begin importation and are now looking for Taiwanese partners,” he said. He hoped Taiwan would soon “serve beef noodles with Lithuanian beef.”
Meanwhile, Lukauskas said Lithuania is allowed to import dried eggs but it is also seeking to bring liquid eggs to Taiwan. This could be good for Taiwan, as it is in the middle of an egg shortage, he suggested.
The representative described Lithuanian cuisine as mostly consisting of savory flavors. It also incorporates many milk products such as sour cream and cheese, he said. Lithuanians eat a lot of potatoes, meat-filled dumplings, and sausages, he said.
Commenting on Food Taipei, the representative said, “Food can make our friendship even stronger.” When people taste food, they feel a bond and begin having more foods together and start traveling to each other’s countries, he said.
(The British Office in Taiwan photo)
At this year’s expo, the British Office in Taiwan partnered with five food manufacturers to showcase the diversity of products available from the U.K.
The company Whittard of Chelsea has a long history of providing delicious teas and cocoa, including its famous Earl Grey tea, as well as offerings of Taiwanese oolong. For those looking for something with more punch, Swish Cocktails is at this year’s expo, promoting pre-mixed sparkling cocktails crafted by renowned mixologist Rich Woods.
(Taiwan News/ Keira Chang photo)
Also joining the British Pavilion is the family-owned Dairy Partners, which offers a wide range of incredible cheeses from English. The platform Seafood from Scotland is showcasing some of the highest quality salmon and razor clams to Taiwanese customers.
Last but not least, the U.K.’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is promoting the classic Taiwanese dish of lu rou fan, or braised pork rice, using pork sourced from the U.K., allowing local customers the opportunity to try a new spin on an old favorite.
Thanks to Taiwan’s robust economy, high median income level, robust economy, strong dine-out culture and dense concentration of food service outlets, the country is an important market full of opportunity for British food exporters, said Jessica Henry, director of the British Office in Taiwan.
Food Taipei 2023, now in its 33th iteration, runs from June 14-17 and focuses on food for the future, food safety, and sustainability. It is organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and features 1,400 exhibitors and 4,000 booths.
TAITRA Chairman James C. F. Huang (fourth from left) and MOEA Deputy Minister Chen Chern-chyi (third from left) poses with ambassadors and representatives to Taiwan as well as business and association leaders at the opening ceremony of Food Taipei on June 14, 2023. (TAITRA photo)