MANILA, Philippines – Business prospects for food, services and tourism in the country are looking bright in 2014, according to author, radio anchor and entrepreneur Carl Balita.
Balita, who is also the president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Quezon City, said 2014 is a promising year for budding entrepreneurs because of the changing landscape and new opportunities across various industries.
For the food industry, Balita expects Filipinos to shift to a healthier, organic and more traditional diet.
“Expect more sugar-free cakes, more sugar-free products. Filipinos are now reading the labels of the food they eat,” he told ANC on Wednesday.
Balita said as more consumers choose to eat healthy, the popularity of fast food restaurants may continue to wane, which is why more fast food chains are opting to include healthy alternatives to their menus.
Balita cited as an example Jollibee’s decision to acquire Mang Inasal as a healthy alternative to its popular Chickenjoy.
Balita also said traditional Filipino food such as the suman, La Paz batchoy and puto may find more popularity in the mainstream market this year.
“Filipinos are so diverse, we are all over. For example, the Ilokanos will look for authentic pinakbet in Manila; the Kapampangans will probably look for Kapampangan recipes in Cebu; and look at the lechons in Manila, they are Cebu lechons,” he said.
To have a successful food business, Balita said entrepreneurs should prioritize the “VAST” opportunities in the industry, or “value, affordability, safety, and technology.”
Services and tourism
Balita said he expects “home-to-home” services to gain traction in 2014 as more Filipinos put a premium on convenience.
“You don’t need an office to market a home service spa--from my home to your home,” he said.
He said among the services to benefit from home-to-home are health, wellness and beauty, home maintenance and hospitality.
He noted that for home services to be successful, entrepreneurs should practice “TLC,” or “trustworthiness, legitimacy and convenience.”
“You should register the business, have an office, so you will have representation,” he said.
For tourism, Balita said entrepreneurs should take advantage not just of the popular tourist spots, but also the country’s medical and wellness tourism, eco-adventure, educational and cultural activities, and talents.
“There’s more to sell in the Philippines than our beaches and bitches,” he said.
Balita also said even employees with a full-time job may enter the business world by creating a business that doesn’t demand much of your time.
He noted that as long as you can take advantage of your passion, there will be opportunities to be successful.
“In business there are no mistakes, just lessons,” he said.
Aside from being an entrepreneur, Balita is also a registered nurse and he has put up one of the biggest nursing review centers in the country.
He has built an empire of businesses serving various fields, from education to publishing, beauty and wellness, food, tourism, information technology and microfinance.