News and UpdatesIn the NewsStudy reveals PH a fried-food nation

Study reveals PH a fried-food nation


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MANILA — Frying food is one of the most common and preferred cooking methods in the Philippines because of its convenience and affordability.

A sari-sari store startup called Packworks, in collaboration with a socio-cultural research firm called Fourth Wall, found that products related to fried food are on the top of the shopping list of Filipinos in their favorite sari-sari stores.

A comparison data obtained with a business intelligence tool called Sari IQ on Dec. 1-14 between 2021 and 2022 showed that among all holiday season products, sawsawan (packaged sauce) has the highest consumption rate, with a significant increase of eight percent. Breading and coating mixes came second at seven percent, while cooking oil, despite ranking in 3rd place, remained statistically static with a five percent increase.

“At a socio-cultural level, Filipinos prefer fried foods because of its association to sawsawan and the culture it breeds,” explained John Brylle Bae, research director of Fourth Wall. “The sawsawan culture epitomizes the communal nature of eating for Filipinos — that is, eating is more than just consuming good food, but forging long-lasting connections with others,” he added.

In a 2016 essay, Andre Orandain wrote that the Filipino cuisine is “participative and communal. It asks and implores one to touch the food, not only to consume, but also to partake. To allow ourselves to connect with the things we eat on a deeper, more spiritual level. It asks us to treat food intimately. The sawsawan is one of the most important facets of this trait. It defines the very structure of Filipino culture. It shows us how we adapt, how we change, how we are hospitable, and how we love to please. It is many things all at once, but more importantly, it shows how much of a reflection food is.”

Meanwhile, products related to fruit salads experienced no significant change. Evaporated milk increased by two percent, while condensed milk declined by one percent.

Other fruit salad-related products have experienced drastic declines, including all-purpose cream at 11 percent, and canned fruits at 16 percent, suggesting that Filipinos gave up fruit salads on their holiday table in 2022.

Moreover, the demand for sugar and seasonings has considerably dipped. Sugar declined by nine percent, and seasonings by 33 percent, which shows that Filipinos are becoming more conscious about their diet — even during the holiday season.

“Our analysis further suggests that during the holiday season, Filipinos are willing to forgo salads and sweets, but they are struggling to let go of fried foods. The aversion to sugars and salads comes from high inflation, growing concerns on diabetes, and increasing health consciousness. Meanwhile, the propensity for fried foods comes from practical considerations (convenient and economical) but also from a much deeper socio-cultural consideration,” Bae said.

The data sets were generated using Sari IQ, a business intelligence tool created by sari-sari store technology startup Packworks. ‘With the Sari IQ platform, retailers are provided with a clear picture of the buying trends made by sari-sari stores and their consumers,” said Andres Montiel, Packworks’ head for data management. “Data generated from the platform can be customized to multiple sari-sari store categories or even specific brands where we can create geographical maps to determine and analyse the consumer behavior of each province, city or region in the Philippines, helping brands understand the customers’ buying needs, and focus on areas that have high demand.”

Montiel said conclusions derived from data help retailers to forecast the demand for particular products, and accordingly manage the inventory. (PR)



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