Thursday, June 24, 2021

New firm to can more classic Filipino dishes

FLAGSHIP. Aiming to bring five-star dining in the comforts of everyone’s home, Plantation Prime introduced its flagship product Beef Shank Kare-Kare (beef stew in peanut sauce) in a ready-to-eat can. / PLANTATION PRIME

THREE Cebu-based entrepreneurs have pooled their resources and expertise together to produce ready-to-eat canned Filipino dishes that are tedious to prepare.

The group, on Friday, May 7, 2021 introduced its latest venture named Plantation Prime with Beef Shank Kare-Kare (beef stew in peanut sauce) in a can as its flagship product.

Jointly owned by business owners Manny Gonzalez, Brian Noel and Hannibal Boiser under MB2 Foods Products Inc., Plantation Prime products are manufactured in a 200-square-meter processing plant on Mactan Island. At present, the plant produces 300 cans per day.

Noel, in an interview, said this new business was born out of their want to serve the overseas Filipino market with ready-to-eat Filipino dishes, especially those that require a longer time to prepare.

“We conceptualized the brand in 2018, aiming originally for the Filipinos who live overseas,” said Noel, managing director of Plantation Prime. “With my fellow incorporators and I having lived abroad, we know firsthand the lack of options for Filipino comfort food, especially in the context of those who live fast-paced lives and have little time to prepare meals.”

In 2019, the group built a factory and imported machines. A year after, the company started producing canned beef shank kare-kare and longaniza (sausage) from the recipes of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, owned by one of the incorporators.

In the same year, the firm obtained the required Food and Drug Administration license.

This year, Plantation Prime’s product line quickly expanded to include Bicol Express (pork stew in coconut milk with chili) and—awaiting approval from the FDA—chili con carne and Filipino spaghetti meat sauce, which will be introduced in the next few months.

“With their permission, we used recipes from a five-star luxury resort’s signature restaurant, so a can of Plantation Prime offers five-star dining in the convenience of your own homes,” he said.

Plantation Prime products can last up to two years with proper storage.

Domestic market

Noel said they initially wanted to sell these products abroad, particularly in countries where there are large concentrations of Filipino communities, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the group decided to tap the local market, where it also saw high demand.

The company said: “The lockdowns in the pandemic had people confined to their homes and searching social media for the latest ‘quarantine eats’ to try. Plantation Prime’s premium offering fit the bill and soon created a low-key buzz with its unique product choice.”

Plantation Prime is currently available in all branches of Metro Gaisano Supermarkets, The Marketplace, Robinsons Supermarket and Fooda Savers Mart in Cebu. The brand can also be found in all Metro Supermarkets in Luzon and the rest of the Visayas, Alturas Supermarket in Bohol and select groceries in Mindanao.

Export plans

While filling the domestic supermarket shelves, Noel said they are also exploring ways to penetrate other markets overseas where there are a lot of Filipinos such as in the Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore. The firm is also in talks with the Department of Trade and Industry to help them connect with distributors and importers abroad, especially in the US. (KOC)


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