A local food manufacturer from General Santos City captured the Grand Prize in the 2011 Trendy Awards at the 8th International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines, the largest and most comprehensive all-food event in the Philippines.

First place went to Santa Cruz Seafood and their frozen milkfish belly v-cuts from full-sized milkfish grown on the seawaters of GenSan, now turning out to be one of the country’s leading areas for aquaculture exports.

The yearly Trendy Awards is a project of the Dept. of Trade & Industry (DTI) through the Center for International Trade Expositions & Missions (CITEM) to search for local innovations in content & packaging of new food products & applications and those which exemplify succesful adaptation to consumer lifestyle and preferences, and its readiness for the challenges and requirements of the global consumer.

Sta. Cruz Seafood’s frozen Bangus Belly V-cuts lorded it over a crop of 22 shortlisted IFEX exhibitors whose new food products or applications were judged on newness of the idea, product innovation, packaging design and innovation, and market demand.

Sta. Cruz’s milkfish belly cuts which were bigger than the usual freshwater bangus and have a firm texture do not have the “muddy” aftertaste.

Judging the entries were were renowned personalities including famous culinary great Nora Daza, Philippine Star lifestyle writer Cecil Zamora, CIBO resto’s Margarita Fores, Cook Magazine’s chief editor Nancy Reyes-Lumen; Via Mare’s Glenda Barreto; Bale Dutung’s famous chef Claude Tayag; food writer/designer Ige Ramos, food writer and designer; and DZBB news anchor Raul Virtudazo.

All the entries had to undergo a preliminary screening process by a technical screening committee made up of food and packaging experts from the Food Development Center (FDC), the Dept. of Science & Technology-Packaging Technology Division (DOST-PTD), the Philippine Trade Training Center (PITC) and the San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corporation (SMYPC).

2nd and 3rd place winners were Bacolod’s Herbanext Inc.’s Sweet Roselle Chips, a lightweight snack made from the sun-dried petals of the tropical roselle plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and C.O.P. Pili Sweets & Pastries’ Garlic with Chili variant of its YNut Roasted Pili Nuts.

From us here at GenSan News Online Mag, our heartfelt congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Joel and Patrice Santos, owners of Sta. Cruz Seafood, and the same couple behind the now famous GenSan View Resort!  Joel himself is a great grandson of the city’s founder, Gen. Paulino Santos and a brother of Tito, one of the owners of premier tuna pasalubong favorite, Pacific Seas Seafood Market.

2011 is truly the Year of the Champions for General Santos City!!! Mabuhay ang mga Generals!