Native Onion to Malunggay (Moringa)
More and more entrepreneurs are getting into the malunggay bandwagon, They are processing the leaves into value-added products.
One family who is into the business of producing malunggay powder is that of Jose Manalo, owner of Life Pure Wellness, a corporation based in Quezon City. The family has long been exporting native onions to countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hongkong. They usually had rejects which they made into onion powder. The problem was that there were not enough rejects to process the whole year round.
Then they discovered the potentials of malungay with its varied nutritive contents. They did their own research and then went into malunggay powder production in 2007. The beauty about malunggay is that it is available throughout the year.
As of now, they are processing 300 kilos of fresh leaves a week, sourced from Tanauan City. The growing area is isolated from pollution to make sure it is clean and organically grown. Usually, 60 to 70 kilos are recovered from the 300 kilos of fresh leaves. The farmers are planting more in anticipation of the bigger demand from Life Pure Wellness whose products are selling well. LPW buys the leaves at the prevailing price in the market, according to P.J. Manalo, son of the founder who is the marketing manager. He finished a course in international business, major in marketing, in Toronto, Canada.
The powder is used to enrich a wide variety of food products. One baker is buying malunggay powder to enrich his pan de sal and other breads. For pan de sal, the baker mixes half a kilo of malunggay powder per 20-kilo bag of flour.
The powder is also used in ice cream. One ice cream parlor in San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur specializes in malunggay ice cream.
Of course, the powder is also used to enrich the foods served at home. It could be cooked with rice, sprinkled on soups and various vegetable dishes. It can also be added to adobo and other meat dishes. The applications are virtually limitless.
The powder is packed in different sizes. One popular pack contains 80 grams which sells for P100. There are also smaller and bigger packs. A 30-gram pack sells for P30.
The LPW malunggay powder is approved by the Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD). The product is all natural and has no preservative. The leaves are dried in the sun for about 18 hours and then passed through a pulverizing machine.
The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry are very supportive of the products of LPW. In fact, it is one of the products that the DA and DTI brought for display in the Muba 2009, a trade expo of organic products in Europe.
Aside from its use as food enricher, malunggay powder is also now used in scented and unscented bath soaps in combination with other natural extracts.