THE Mindanao Cake Decorating Society (MCDS) is pushing for standard pricing policies and good manufacturing education as it grapples with its membership base who are mostly online and do not have a physical store.

Hannah Granado, MCDS president, said a lot of bakers are sprouting online and are doing well. However, these are still facing a lot of challenges. MCDS has more than 2,400 members in its Facebook account and Granado said most of these are from Davao City.

The group met with its members last January and talked of their concerns. Among the glaring concerns is the lack of business permits among members. This is apparently because members are into home-based baking and using the social media to promote its products.

Granado said it will be ideal if all members have a business permit but she recognized that this is not yet realistic. Granado said the group instead plans to educate its members on the standards of good hygiene and manufacturing practices even when they are home-based.

"This year, we would really want to make it an advocacy - to conduct workshops and encourage our members to attend. This will help educate them on the proper way of baking. It should always be clean to avoid untoward incidents," said Granado adding they would also wanto to partner with the Department of Science and Technology for good manufacturing trainings and seminars.

Aside from this, their organization targets to standardize the pricing for customized and decorative cakes.

"I would want to tell the bakers to price your cake according to your skill," said Granado.

Oftentimes, she said she would encounter 4-layer cakes that are well decorated but are priced at only P4,000 which is cheap based on industry standard.

She said this pricing would affect the general pricing of cake as other bakers will adjust their rates to compete.

Still Granado is positive that the cake decorating industry in Mindanao, particularly in Davao City is growing.

"The market is still there [even when a lot are going into online cake selling]. You can see that - how many birthday celebrants and wedding receptions do we have in one day? The industry is really growing," she said.