Arce family: Serving ‘all-natural’ ice cream to Pinoys since 1935
For the past 77 years, the Arce family has produced what arguably is the best gourmet-type, all-natural ice cream in the Philippines, proudly stating that it is their family tradition to use only the best natural ingredients – fresh carabao’s milk, local fruits and nuts – in their ice-cream products.
“It is a matter of pride in our family to produce the best-tasting ice cream in the country. We are proud that since we started producing ice cream, we have sourced our main ingredients from the local dairy industry, buying from local farmers fresh carabao’s milk that serves as base for, and local fruits and nuts that flavor, our ice cream. Other companies use cow’s milk. We are the only local ice-cream company using fresh carabao’s milk and fresh fruits,” said Dennis S. Arce, Vice President for Finance of ArceFoods Corp., the company that produces ice-cream products under the ArceDairy label.
A tour of the company’s plant in Balintawak, Quezon City, led by a fourth-generation member, Ariel Arce, son and assistant to the company’s current president, Faustito Arce, showed the company indeed uses fresh local fruits and nuts – durian, mango, macapuno, ube, avocado, atis, casoy, peanuts, calamansi, lanka and strawberries – not puree for their ice-cream line. Many of ArceDairy ice-cream products feature solid chunks of fresh fruits that serve as natural flavors and colorant.
It is this same Arce family that created beginning in 1935 Selecta ice cream featuring many local flavors which they sold in their original manufacturing facility in Novaliches, Quezon City. The plant was transferred in 1938 to Lepanto St. in Manila due to increased demand for the company’s ice cream. The current plant was built in 1953 by Mauro Sr. along Selecta Drive in Balintawak, Quezon City. The family’s ice-cream brand was then sold in Selecta Restaurants that dotted the metro area, and many grocery stores.
Today, ArceDairy products are sold in Landmark and other large grocery chains, in ArceDairy ice-cream scooping stations as well as in Bellevue Hotel in Taguig City, Café Breton and Teriyaki Boy, to name a few. ArceDairy ice cream is of course still sold in the company’s ice-cream kiosk in Balintawak; it is open seven days a week.
Arce said the family business started when his grandfather Ramon Arce Sr. and his wife Carmen Concepcion (sister of the late Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion) bought ice-cream making machinery from the Americans before World War II. Ramon Arce Sr. ran his ice-cream business under the dictum “There is no compromise for quality.”
Today’s ice-cream making Arces buy their fresh carabao milk from the same towns in Bulacan where their grandfather and their fathers before them sourced the milk for their ice cream. They continue to maintain the business rapport their family has established for seven decades not only with the dairy farmers who supply them fresh carabao milk, but with the fresh “pastillas” makers who use fresh carabao milk for their products. Like the two generations before them, the third-generation Arces bring tasters and graders to ensure the milk they buy is fresh and of top quality.
To be concluded