Meet the Enterprising Food Processors of Pampanga
If there’s one common factor that can be attributed to a good number of successful food entrepreneurs of Pampanga, it will be their innovativeness and receptiveness to technology which undoubtedly propelled their businesses to where they are today.
Proof of this is the increasingly expanding market for their products which does not only benefit themselves but also the people in the community by providing employment and serving as a sure market for raw materials produced by smallhold farmers.
Four of them are Lai Manalang of Lailen’s Pastries in City of San Fernando, Lucia Miranda of Aiza’s Sweets in Sta. Rita, Francis Joseph Carreon of Carreon’s Sweets and Pastries in Magalang, and Gil Navarro of Navarro Foods International, Inc. in Masantol. They have availed of the technical assistance of DOST in terms of product development and processing which further boosted the marketability of their products.
FROM HOBBY TO BUSINESS
Lucia Miranda is a government employee who used to make pastries as her hobby. In 2000, she thought of selling her home-made sweets and candies initially as a subcontractor of Sasmuan Delicacies which is owned by a relative.
Not long after, she decided to go on her own business by establishing Aiza’s Sweets named after her daughter. Its main product is the marzipan, a chewy delicacy made from eggs, milk, sugar, and flour mixed and rolled with cashew nut chips. She also makes pastillas, a candy made from carabao’s milk.
Today, the company sells its products abroad and supplies all SM snack exchange outlets in Metro Manila and in the provinces. Forty percent of its production goes to export market. It employs a total of 60 workers who are all residents of the locality. The raw materials that she uses such as cashew, ubi, jackfruit, macapuno, and carrots are sourced locally.
Aiza’s Sweets entry to the export market was greatly helped by DOST through the improvement of product quality and shelflife which are essential requirements in the export market. These were availed by the firm through DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) in 2006.
QUALITY TARTS AND CANDIES
Lailen’s Pastries does not only boasts of its mouth-watering tarts. It also has the best tasting sylvannas and the moist and chewy brownies one can find in the City of San Fernando.
Owner Lai Manalang said that packaging has tremendous impact on the saleability and shelflife of her products because when these two aspects were addressed by SETUP, her production has increased as well as her number of workers.
Lai also expanded her markets which now also include some provinces in Luzon. She said that she intends to expand her production area so that she can increase her production.
YOUNGEST OF THEM ALL
He had just graduated from college when Francis Joseph Carreon took over the management of a then small family managed bakeshop and sweets factory in 2004. Since then, there was no stopping this 25-year old applied economics graduate from earning his first million.
Among his products that really sell well are pastillas, egg plantanilla, caramel, yema, mazapan de pili, ensaymada, and sylvannas. He also makes cashew tart, boat tart, empanaditas, pili roll, sans rival, polvoron, and food for the gods.
Carreon credits the DOST Region III for the quality improvement of his products through the acquisition of various processing equipment which resulted in the increase in production and sales. Comparing his gross incomes for the past two years, he said that in 2008 he grossed more than 60 percent higher than his income in 2007.
THE “TABA NG TALANGKA” KING
Life was not easy for Gil Navarro long before he engaged himself in making crab paste or better. known as taba ng talangka, a unique delicacy of Pampanga. After graduating from high school, he worked as a construction worker for three years to help augment family income. He then enrolled himself in a vocational course in tailoring and ended up as a tailor in a garment factory for another three years.
Today, he is the president of a growing food company which has captured the local and international market by pioneering the commercial production of taba ng talangka, a business which he started with P=200 capital in 1978.
Gil recalls selling his taba ng talangka by peddling house to house on a weekly basis. The profits he, got were added to his capital which helped expand his business. Now he employs 35 regular and 750 sub-contractual workers who are mostly residents of Masantol.
Gil is a beneficiary of SETUP which included the acquisition of S/S working table, double sink table, steam retort, boiler and steam jacketed kettle which are necessary for volume production. These are also essential in prolonging the product shelflife.
Gil said that they are processing an average of 250 kilos of taba ng talangka per day. He said thata25 kilos could make 100 bottles. He sources talangka locally and a bulk of it comes from Bicol. He has no problem on the supply because he has built a cold storage facility for the crabs. It is made of three storage rooms measuring 3 m x 9 m each and has a total capacity of 1,400 pails at 100 kilos per pail.
Where do the waste crabshells go? Gil said that it is being used as feed for fish by some fishpond owners nearby. It is also fed to duck layers as crabshells are claimed to help thicken the ducks’ egg shells.
By : Melpha M. Abello