Giving and Growing

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By Fred M. Roxas

Countryside Pulse

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


MEKENI Food Corporation (MFC), undoubtedly the country's leading meat processing company has just concluded its "Masarap Na, May Papremyo Pa" raffle promo where it gave away over P5 million tax-free prizes.

MFC President Prudencio Garcia personally handed checks to winners in the “Masarap Na, May Papremyo Pa” at the company’s factory in Barangay Balubad here. The winners were also also given a tour of the facilities inside the very first ISO-certified meat processing in the Philippines and in Asia.

Grand winner of P1 million pesos was 71-year old Flordeliza Castro from Magalang, Pampanga, while the partner store or Suking Tindahan was Flor and Louies’ Store which will get half million pesos. It was represented by Lani De Jesus.

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Castro said she is happy that her name was picked from thousands of raffle entries from all over the country. She said that part of the prize money will be used in their business.

Just in case one may be curious to ask if the lucky winner and the suking tindahan belong to the same family, business or trading, the answer is yes. This is also legal as this was contained in the contest rules approved by the government. There were also other winners of major and minor prizes whose own stores were also picked.

That was part of the contest rules. That was part of MFC’s generosity to those who strive hard.

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The promo which culminated with the raffling off of P1-million grand prize last January 18 was part of the company’s expression of gratitude to the customers of the multi-awarded meat processing company.

“Being grateful is one virtue and learning that was imparted to us by our parents and this raffle is our way of saying thank you to our customers who have supported us for many years now,” Garcia said in his speech during the program.

Mekeni was started by couple Felix and Meding Garcia, both public school teachers, as a backyard tocino business in 1986. It has since become a leading food company, achieving a grand slam feat as the Philippines’ number one meat processing company conferred by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

Garcia said that the support of customers was overwhelming “despite the entry of other players in the meat product business.” He however said that they don’t treat other companies as competitors.

“In each passing year, we try to become better. Better persons, better employees, better company. And we don’t compete with other firms but we compete with our own selves so we become better than the past year,” Garcia said.

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During the awarding of checks to winners in Porac recently, Garcia also announced that Mekeni has penetrated the Japan market for pickled ginger, a common staple in the northeast Asian country.

Its initial shipment is set at 50 tons which is not much by commercial standards but the significance of this is the fact that MFC was picked over other numerous food processing companies. This is something to be proud of once again for Capampangans and even Filipinos in general as the Japanese market – especially for food items – is not easy to penetrate.

Pickled ginger is a popular side dish in Japan where the demand for the food item greatly exceeds available supply.

Garcia said that this could pave the way for the entry of MFC’s core products, processed meat such as hot dog, ham as well as the popular Filipino delicacies, including pork tocino and longganisa, into the foreign market.

“More important than this, of course, is Mekeni’s desire to provide a bigger outlet for local ginger farmers,” he said during this writer’s visit to the company’s 24-hectare manufacturing complex in Barangay Balubad, Porac.

“We hope to hit a level of regularly shipping at least 40 kilos a month of pickled ginger to that country.”

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MFC is the first Philippine and Asian and second in the world meat processor to bag the highest and coveted ISO certification for food processing, beating established local and foreign institutions in this line of business.

The ISO certification is recognized worldwide as a seal of an institution’s adherence to quality managements systems in its operations.

This certification hold particularly true in hotdog processing and marinated meat (especially tocino and longganisa) processing where MFC also lords it over all other companies not only in the Philippines but also internationally with its Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000.

This is the latest and integrated standard on food safety and quality. FSSC covers many of the most comprehensive existing food and safety standards and program requirements because of its full integration of ISO 22000.

MFC also bagged the “AAA” or best food processor award from a government committee chaired by the National Meat and Inspection Service for three consecutive awarding years, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and a Grand Slam winner in 2007.

Garcia said these awards clearly sent a message to consumers that the processed meat products of MFC are “produced with care and safety.”

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 19, 2014.

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