According to preliminary figures compiled by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Philippines’ total export sales as of October 2022 has exceeded the USD 7 billion mark. Agro-based products accounted for more than USD 425 million of the country’s export economy, and coconut oil in particular clinched a spot among the top ten major commodity groups.
As these numbers show, there’s a growing international market for competitive, high-quality export products made on Philippine soil. The country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has also identified a lucrative niche for products made out of natural ingredients, as these appeal to global consumers who want to live healthy and sustainable lifestyles.
If you’re interested in joining this lively export economy and developing your own cosmetics, home care, pet food, or health and wellness product lines for export, there’s one thing you need to pay special attention to: your ingredients. Your choice of base ingredients—plus other factors like the performance of your ingredient manufacturer—play a huge part in your success at exporting new goods.
Here are four tips for sourcing good base ingredients for your new product line, as well as tailoring your export plan and export marketing strategy around these ingredients.
Choose the Right Ingredients for Formulating Your Products
The very first thing you should do is to decide which ingredients you want to rely on. Your final roster of ingredients should align with your overall export plan given your export market profile, your timeframe for launching products into a new export market, your budget constraints for production, and the like.
With these factors in mind, choose high-quality ingredients that aren’t overly difficult for your company to procure on a regular basis. They should also be a solid foundation for a number of innovative and original products that can contribute to your export customers’ quality of life in brand-new ways.
If your business is based in the Philippines, play to the country’s strengths and choose native ingredients that are known for their versatility and effectiveness. Good examples of these are coconut oleochemicals and other coconut-derived materials.
Although coconuts grow plentifully in the Philippine archipelago, their availability is limited in the regions of Europe and North America. That means that coconut-based products may be fresh to these markets and therefore present lucrative new revenue opportunities for exporters.
Find a Reputable Ingredient Partner
Second, for added ease on both the manufacturing-related and export-related aspects of doing business, choose a trustworthy ingredient manufacturer who’s already well-acquainted with export manufacturing processes. If you’re developing export products for the first time, you’ll want the knowledge and experience of a manufacturer who knows how to meet strict export-ready standards.
Partner up with an ingredient manufacturer who can prove that they source materials in ethical ways and that they contribute to the livelihood of Filipino farmers and other hardworking stakeholders in the supply chain. These business practices, along with high-quality and export-ready ingredients, will make your new export venture worthwhile.
Ensure That Your Ingredients Are Traceable by Export Regulators
It’s no secret that developing products for export is a rigorous task, and there’s a lot of legwork that you need to do before you ship your products out. For your ingredients alone, you’ll need to put together a technical dossier with safety data sheets (SDSs), technical data sheets (TDSs), and certificates of analysis (COAs).
The documents in your technical dossier are meant to provide your export regulators with comprehensive overviews of the physical attributes, chemical attributes, microbiological attributes, and toxicological attributes of your ingredients, all of which will make them more traceable. They will also lend credibility to your organization by making your processes transparent and making you fully accountable to your regulators.
Completing the paper trail may be difficult on you as a first-time exporter. Knowing that, don’t hesitate to seek extra guidance in compiling all the necessary documents, for example from your manufacturing partner.
Build an Effective Brand Story Around Your Ingredients
Lastly, though good ingredients are vital to your business strategy, on their own, they are not enough to propel your brand into the spotlight of a highly competitive export market. To succeed in the global export sector, you will need to distinguish your business brand as one that offers unique value for what it produces.
Your products will resonate with customers if the latter can see them as good alternatives to existing products in their home countries—perhaps ones that will let them lead healthier lifestyles due to the items’ wealth of natural ingredients. You can also leverage your ingredients to strengthen the sustainability claims on your products so that they can appeal to the increasing number of eco-conscious customers.
Final Words: Some Last Considerations for Putting Together Your Export Plan
Your strategy for sourcing ingredients forms one of the most important elements of your overall export plan. But don’t neglect the other aspects, like preparing export contracts and reviewing the customs policies for the countries or regions you intend to export to.
With the right approaches to procuring ingredients and following export guidelines, your company may be well on its way to gaining the interest and favor of profitable new markets. Use the tips above to gain a strong start to your upcoming exporting venture.