Winners of the 2024 Katha Awards for Food revealed

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The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) took a huge leap forward, championing Philippine food excellence as it recognized the best of the country’s export food products. The much-anticipated winners of the 2024 Katha Awards for Food were announced on Friday, April 26, in a press briefing dubbed the “Big Taste Reveal: IFEX Philippines 2024 Media Salu-Salo and Katha Awards for Food Presentation” held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Recognized as a seal of Philippine food innovation and creativity, Katha Awards for Food seeks to challenge food entrepreneurs across the country to foster a culture of excellence in developing new export products.

In her remarks, CITEM Deputy Executive Director and Officer in Charge Ma. Lourdes Mediran, underscored the vital role that the highly coveted Katha Awards for Food has been playing since it was inaugurated in 2015.

“Katha Awards has been a hallmark of Philippine creativity through the recognition of fresh and innovative food products and applications. It seeks to inspire courage among food entrepreneurs to explore galleries of flavors and work on new, untried ideas,” Mediran said.

Likewise, Mediran explained that CITEM, the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has undertaken rigid measures to determine the most outstanding products among the nominees.

“These export-quality products are held to certain standards that CITEM has put in place for several years. Out of 79 products submitted for evaluation, 21 made it to the final screening and only nine (9) emerged as the creme dela creme, meticulously selected by luminaries who are all well-respected within the food community,” Mediran added.

The Board of Judges for this year’s Katha Awards for Food was led by former Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary, former CITEM President and now President of International School of Sustainable Tourism, Dr. Mina Gabor. Joining her in the panel of judges were Anna Marie Ozaeta, co-founder of the Philippine Culinary Heritage; Ferdinand Cabo Chanpongco, Food Industry Consultant; and Ms. Millie Dizon, Senior Vice President for Marketing of SM Retail. 

The CITEM-led event kicked off with a fun BINGO activity where the export promotion agency’s partners from various media outfits were given the opportune time to engage and connect with the KATHA Awards finalists. Likewise, media partners were treated to dishes infused with some of the products and ingredients brought by participating exhibitors.

Central to the occasion was a panel discussion facilitated by renowned gastronomy expert Clang Garcia and attended by authorities in food export including CITEM Deputy Executive Director and Officer in Charge Ma. Lourdes Mediran, IFEX Philippines Project Director Rowena Mendoza, Plant-based Association of the Philippines President Auggie Suratos-Yap, and Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc. (PHILFOODEX) President Ruben See.

Apart from Katha Awards, prominent food personalities Clang Garcia and Abigail Marquez were also given special recognition as “FOODPhilippines Advocate Par Excellence.” Garcia is a transformative advocate of Philippine gastronomy tourism whose body of work include cultural food mapping, research and development alongside book and video production. Meanwhile, Marquez, whose social media following across all platforms has reached 7 million, was famed for her unique approach to traditional Filipino dishes creatively portrayed in her collection of videos. Marquez recently won the Webby People’s Voice award in the “Social – Food & Drink” category at the 28th edition of the prestigious Webby Awards.

For her part, IFEX Philippines Project Director Rowena Mendoza urged everyone to take part in the 17th edition of IFEX Philippines set to happen on May 10 to 12, 2024 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

“For this year, the 3-day trade show is coined “It’s a Salu-Salo. Find the best flavors and ingredients here.” It will be a multisensory experience as you discover flavors, both familiar and unexpected, from a growing community of exhibitors, experts, and tastemakers,” Mendoza said.

Here are the list of winners of the 2024 Katha Awards for Food:

Beverages

The Power of SLOW Coconut Flower Sap by Lionheart Farms Philippines Corporation

A refreshing coconut flower beverage perfect as an alternative to sugary drinks.

Ube Cream Liqueur by Destileria Barako Corporation

An innovative fusion of sugar cane vodka and Filipino ube.

Ready-to-eat Savories and Home Meal Replacements 

Bean Appetit Monggo with Squash in Coconut Milk and Dilis by Bestfriend Goodies

A convenient and ready-to-eat, Halal-certified monggo dish made special with squash, coconut milk, and anchovies.

Meat, Poultry and Dairy Products 

Real Bacon Crisps by Baken Philippines, Inc.

Original, crispy, and smoky bacon strips made with hundred percent real pork.

Fruits and Vegetables, Seaweeds, and Plant-based Meat Alternatives

Buenas Dried Vegetables by Gem Foods International, Inc.

Seasonal leafy vegetables processed in dry format, ready to use for soup, dish, or tea.

Bakery Products and Confectionary

Handcrafted Chocolate Treats by Theo and Philo Chocolate Factory, Inc.

Ready-to-eat and handcrafted chocolate, made with real coconut and natural ingredients.

Cereals and Cereal Products

Doña Maria Brown Rice Puffs Series by SL Agritech Corporation

Crunchy, tasty, and nutritious oven-baked puff snacks made from Doña Maria Brown Rice.

Food Ingredients, Condiments, and Sweeteners

Maharlika Pure Calamansi Extract by One Vizcaya by Gulf Pacific Integrated Exports, Inc.

Pure calamansi extract conveniently packed in sachets for any time use.

Fish and Other Seafood Products 

 Northbay Deli Classic Salmon Smoked in Oil by Kai Anya Foods International Corporation

Ready-to-eat salmon belly strips in soya oil mixed with choice spices.

Here is the list of finalists:

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