10-day US Foods Week kicks off in Phnom Penh as demand among Cambodians continue to rise
The US Foods Week is back in town as the appetite for American food products continue to grow among the increasing affluent Cambodian consumers.
The 10-day event will showcase US products such as beef, potatoes, California raisins, dry peas, lentils, chickpeas and wines.
Local consumers and tourists to Cambodia have been keen on US foods. US food imports into Cambodia have doubled in value, from $10.3 million in 2013 to $19.6 million in 2017.
“Cambodia is becoming a burgeoning market for US food products. In the last five years, food and agriculture products (imports) more than doubled, which shows that the market has improved.
The US Foods Week will showcase a variety of activities in the coming days, demonstrating a strong partnership between the US and Cambodian food sector,” Gerald H. Smith, Senior Agriculture Attache, at the US Consulate General, Ho Chi Minh City said at his opening remarks at the event on Friday.
He said popular products were US beef and frozen potatoes, but pulses and California raisins have experienced increasing sales as well.
From December 1 – 12, Cambodian importers, chefs and restaurants will work closely on a series of activities to promote US food products.
Speaking at the event, Ministry of Commerce’s Under Secretary of State Pich Rithi said the Cambodian economy has witnessed healthy growth, averaging seven per cent annually and it is opportune time for US companies to invest in the Kingdom.
“Cambodia is enjoying good growth and tourist arrivals. The US Dry Bean Council and other producers should consider investing in Cambodia. We are a member of Asean and WTO (World Trade Organization) and there are about 650 million consumers in Asean, the consumer market is big,” said Rithi.
The event began last week with two technical training workshops for chefs held at the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia. These workshops were conducted by US Meat Export Federation and the Culinary Institute of America as an industry service to the US Dry Bean Council.
Twenty to 25 chefs participated in each workshop.
At the opening ceremony, US foods and wines were showcased by key Cambodian importers of US foods and various US industry partners.
Besides, 16 leading restaurants in Phnom Penh will be conducting menu promotions for the US foods and wines from December 1-9.
On Saturday and Sunday (December 1 and 2 ) a US team of judges visited each restaurant to taste the dishes that had been prepared and rated the restaurants on their menus as well as the atmosphere that had been created for the US Foods Week.
A Young Chefs Competition will take place on December 4 at the Academy of Culinary Arts Cambodia.
Young chefs from restaurants and hotels throughout Phnom Penh have been invited to participate and showcase their skills in developing and preparing dishes featuring US food products.
Hem Simany, assistant manager of Lee’s Foodservices Ltd, a leading Cambodian food importer and exporter, said the demand for US food products continues to grow annually.
“The living standard of Cambodian people continues to improve and affluent customers like US food products. There is better demand mainly due to the quality of the products and taste,” said Simany, whose company has been importing food products from the US for more than a decade.
The US Agriculture Affairs Office in Vietnam, the US Embassy in Cambodia and various US and Cambodian industry players are involved in the event which will end on December 12.