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NDTO News Article

Philippine Economy Proving Robust

The Philippine economy has led its ASEAN partners in terms of GDP growth, achieving an overall rate of 6.8% during 2016 according to information released by the Philippine Statistics Authority last week. This rate edged out the neighboring countries of China (6.7%) and Vietnam (6.2%.) This level of growth builds upon other favorable market indicators such as a growing Filipino middle class and an increasing preference for healthy foods.

As income in the Philippines rises, more people are pursuing healthy meals and activities. Pulse Asia’s December 2016 survey found that health was the number one personal concern of Filipinos. Approximately 63% of the sample population cited health and avoiding illness as their most urgent concern, with having a secure and well-paying job coming in second at 44%.

A 2015 Nielson survey found that 97% of Filipinos are willing to pay more for foods that promote good health or reduce their risk of disease. Additionally, 63% of those surveyed placed importance on the fiber content of food and 52% looked for foods high in protein. About 64% of consumer are looking for foods made from vegetables and fruits and 45% prefer non-GMO foods.

Euromonitor named the Philippines as one of five emerging markets with the best middle class potential for 2015-2030. Approximately 8.4 million households will obtain middle class status in 2030, an increase of 41.8%. Euromonitor also estimated that the growing middle class will increase their disposable income 70% by 2030, reaching a median value of $11,429 per household (in 2014 prices.) The Filipino middle class will spend their additional earnings on leisure and recreation, health goods and medical services, and education.

Despite Philippine President Duterte’s contentious war on drugs, his approval rating remains at 83% according to Pulse Asia. The president’s $160 billion infrastructure plan and calls for investment from China, Russia and the Middle East are expected to spur additional growth and jobs. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the Philippines is also on the rise, contributing 1.3 million jobs and $25 billion to the Philippines economy. The World Bank estimates that by 2020, BPO jobs will number 2.6 million and add $50 billion in revenue.

The North Dakota Trade Office will hold an inaugural North Dakota-Philippines ‘Better for You Food Ingredients’ Conference & Exhibition in Manila on March 20-24, 2017. For more information on this mission, please contact Jiwon Kim at or Lindsey Warner at