SEVERAL categories of animal food products appear to have grown in demand within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region from 2002 to 2012, an economist said.

Prof. Ramon Clarete of the University of the Philippines School of Economics shared this information during a recent discussion on the impact of the Asean economic integration on the Philippine food and agribusiness sector.

Among the products that have demonstrated a huge leap in demand are tuna, dried fish, milk, and shrimp and prawns.

Meanwhile, milk and cream, tuna, processed cheese, and mucilages and thickeners are some of those that have made a significant appearance in intra-regional trade.

In his analysis of data between 2002 and 2012, Clarete said that frozen whole tuna emerged number one on the list of top animal products traded, having the largest increase in value from 2002 to 2012. This merchandise grew in value by 25,609 percent, with Thailand as the top destination.

This was followed by frozen fish, showing an 8,052 percent percent change and destined mostly for Vietnam; and frozen whole tuna (yellowfin) with a 7,206 percent surge in demand, bound largely for Singapore. Other products that made a big market splash during that period include processed cheese (not grated or powdered).

Clarete said it will be good for the Philippine exporting community to find out which food and agricultural products are emerging as bestsellers in the Asean marketplace, so they can focus on producing and exporting more these items.

Knowing which food items to develop for the regional market is crucial since “compared to other Asean countries, the value of the Philippines’ A&F (agriculture and food trade) with the region is fairly small.” (PhilExport News & Features)