Can Datu Puti, Mang Tomas go global?

by Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 08 2014 08:42 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2014 04:44 AM

NutriAsia aims to globalize Pinoy condiments

NutriAsia's liquid condiments manufacturing plant in Marilao, Bulacan. Photo courtesy of NutriAsia, Inc.

MANILA -- NutriAsia, Inc., a leading manufacturer and distributor of Pinoy condiments and cooking oil, is aiming to expand its exports, especially with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

Among the company's iconic brands are Datu Puti (vinegar and soy sauce), Mang Tomas Lechon Sauce, Golden Fiesta (cooking oil), several banana catsup brands such as UFC, Papa, Jufran and Mafran.

According to Angie Go Flaminiano, president and chief operating officer of NutriAsia, the company has so far been focused on the local market, given its understanding of Filipinos' taste and preferences.

However, she added that NutriAsia is ready to expand regionally and globally given NutriAsia Inc.'s seal of food quality. She said the company is the only local firm with a Stamp of Food Safety and Efficiency from SGS Philippines. It also complies with the US Food and Drug Administration's Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations.

Exports

At present, most of the NutriAsia's sales are in the Philippine market, with only 10% of sales coming from outside the country, primarily the United States and countries in the Middle East.

NutriAsia products are available in some American supermarkets like Costco and Walmart, as well as in some Filipino stores in the US.

In July, Datu Puti gained an unofficial celebrity endorser after Gwyneth Paltrow shared on her website that she used Datu Puti Toyomansi.

The current trend for healthy and nutritious food and drinks such as coconut water has also paved the way for Asian products to enter the American market.

In the US, the Filipinos' favorite banana catsup is sold as banana sauce.

NutriAsia is now expanding its distribution and advertising overseas to make its products well-known worldwide.

ASEAN market

Flaminiano said they are aware that ASEAN integration will mean stronger competition in the local market, which may hurt the company if consumers turn to foreign brands, but she is confident in the strength of their products.

She added that the quality of NutriAsia's goods are at par, or even better, than foreign brands, which should make them competitive.

Flaminiano admitted that most of their consumers are Filipinos, and overseas sales come primarily from overseas Filipinos, not foreigners.

In Asia, NutriAsia products are largely available only in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Flaminiano said NutriAsia may soon venture in Indonesia, after an Indonesian company expressed interest in its banana catsup brand.

It will also soon create versions of popular Southeast Asian condiments, such as the Thai fish sauce, which is a sweeter version of the Filipino "patis," and a sweeter version of soy sauce, similar to Indonesia's kecap manis.