By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Gardenia Bakeries, the country’s largest breadmaker, forecasts a robust 35 percent increase in sales this year following the opening of its fully automated P1-billion state-of-the-art plant in Mindanao, which will serve the growing demand for quality bread in the south, as well as augment the huge bread requirements in the Visayas.
Gardenia Bakeries Philippines President Simplicio P. Umali Jr. said at the inauguration of the new plant that they sold P6.6 billion worth of bread in 2018. Luzon accounted for 70 percent of total sales.
The new plant, which is located in a 2.5 hectare lot in PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate, in Misamis Oriental, adjacent to Cagayan de Oro City, has a capacity of producing 130,000 loaves and buns a day which will be distributed all over the region. It features four production lines – first, a 4,000 loaves per hour loaf line; second, a flavored loaf line; third, a bun and pandesal line and; fourth, a snack toast line.
“It is now the most advanced bread manufacturing plant in Mindanao,” said Umali.
Umali explained that the location of the new plant, which is just adjacent to Cagayan de Oro, is a strategic move.
“Our new plant is purposefully located not only for Mindanao commercial operations. This will also serve as support to our Cebu plant or Visayas market. We can also dispatch breads easily to other areas when the need arrives, especially in the event of major calamities or natural disasters in those areas,” he explained.
With the new plant, Gardenia’s flour requirement will now increase up to 250 tons a ta day from 170 tons previously. But there is still more room for improvement because bread consumption among Filipinos is stil very low at .75 kilos per capita as against Malaysia’s 3.5 to 4 kgs, Singapore’s 3 kgs and Japan’s 7-8 kgs.
“We are now bringing Gardenia breads closer to our consumers with the opening of our newest plant. With our current distribution capabilities, Gardenia is available in Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Surigao and Zamboanga del Norte, Butuan and Kidapawan but we will intensify our market penetration and saturation to widen our network, and eventually, reach every corner of Mindanao,” Umali said.
“This completely new breadline features robotics and the latest innovations in modern baking. All major equipment are sourced from the best and reliable bakery equipment suppliers in Germany, the Netherlands, United States, Malaysia and Japan,” Umali shared.
He added that the integration of these machineries and equipment into one unit is the company’s expertise learned from Gardenia’s operations in Asia-Pacific, thus enabling them to develop a proprietary manufacturing process unique to Gardenia Philippines.
Umali also shared that the plant is designed to allow consumers to witness and experience the modern baking process through a catwalk plant tour especially for consumers from Mindanao.
“To ensure the high quality, freshness and great taste of Gardenia products, we use flour made from US wheat, milled to Gardenia’s high-quality specifications, milk from Australia or USA, and other imported premium ingredients,” assured Umali.
Wide variety of Gardenia products will be produced in the Mindanao bread facility, including white breads, health bread selections, flavored loaf offerings and buns or pandesal. Gardenia’s affordable loaf brand, Neubake, is also offered.
The plant’s proximity to the ports of Cagayan de Oro, the gateway to Mindanao, ensures the availability and accessibility of ingredients.
Umali emphasized that the construction of the Mindanao plant is a continuation of the company’s goal to reach more of its consumers.
“With Gardenia in Mindanao, world-class quality bread products that will satisfy your appetites as well as feed your hearts will be at your fingertips. Our products will come to you fresh, delicious and healthy as we take Gardenia and breadmaking to the next level,” Umali said.