La Germania shares local food-preneurs’ secrets to success

These small food businesses share their biggest advice for surviving and thriving in the pandemic.

For the past two years, Filipinos have seen the rise of home based food businesses. From sweet pastries to hearty dishes, comfort food to artisanal beverages, numerous Filipinos have ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. But what does it take for a food business to succeed amid a global pandemic?

To inspire more Filipinos to build their food businesses, La Germania is launching a video project called Food Babies. Starting this February, La Germania will be releasing special features on food businesses that survived and thrived amid all the challenges thrown their way. This video project will be exclusively available on their Youtube channel and Facebook page. As a preview of the upcoming project, these food businesses spilled some of their secrets to success with La Germania.

Use social media to stand out against competition

Claudia’s (@claudias.ph) is a passion project turned popular online bakeshop that offers chunky and gooey baked cookies and blondies. According to Founder and Owner, Claudia Tagle, business owners must focus on their social media content to stand out against competitors, especially since customers “eat with their eyes”.

La Germania Small Food Businesses
La Germania Small Food Businesses

“It’s important for you to get those really good shots of your food or the products that you’re selling,” Tagle explained, which involves investing in food photography and social media content. “I do have slower days or slower months, and I think that consistency is key. You just need to learn how to market or promote your products more because your loyal customers will come back.”

She also shared how valuable it is to engage and build relationships with one’s customers. “What really keeps me going is my customer’s feedback, and when they tell me they really enjoy the cookies or the blondies. Getting feedback about what they like and don’t like about your products can help you improve further.”

Believe in your product

Butterboy Bakehouse (@butterboyph) focuses on different kinds of croissants and baked goods to make pastries more affordable and accessible for everyday Filipinos.

Head baker and owner Hilder Demeterio credits his businesses’ wins to two key ingredients. “You should seek knowledge from everywhere, like YouTube videos or classes. You should just try to absorb whatever you can,” he said.

La Germania Small Food Businesses
La Germania Small Food Businesses

Growing up, Hilder was always a lover of food from a distance. It wasn’t until 2018 that he finally began to experiment with baking after meeting his boyfriend, Jason. An architect by profession, Hilder took lessons from his relatives and sought knowledge online, beating the misconception that you need to be a professional cook to start a successful food business.

Moreover, he believes that it’s important for aspiring foodpreneurs to believe in their products as if they’re the brand’s number one fan. “In the middle of the pandemic, I was 6 months unemployed. I borrowed money from my parents, and I emptied pretty much all of my savings. Pati sa boyfriend ko. So during that time, I took a leap of faith and I bought all my own equipment, tapos ayun, we jumped into the unknown with only the knowledge na ‘I think we have something good here’.”

To aspiring foodpreneurs, it is your faith and confidence in the uniqueness of your products that will help your business survive all the ups and downs of the current landscape!

Cook with passion

For restaurateurs Wendel and Portia Habaluyas, The Purple Wok (@thepurplewok) began as a way to support their loyal kitchen staff who were laid-off due to the pandemic. “These people have been loyal to us for many years now, so it was very painful for us to see them feeling hopeless,” said Portia.

For the power couple behind The Purple Wok, it’s all about following your passion. “The most fun part in running a food business is doing what I love to do. Our recipes were created out of passion. They were made out of love. We’ve perfected the recipes, and we do not compromise the quality of our food,” the couple told La Germania.

La Germania Small Food Businesses
La Germania Small Food Businesses

As for what advice they would give aspiring entrepreneurs, Wendel says: “Never create a recipe just for a business and just to create money. Especially nowadays, we noticed that Filipinos are willing to pay a premium or extra for good and quality food. If there’s one advice we can give to people who want to start a food business, it is for you to cook with passion and prepare your food with passion.”

These tidbits of wisdom are only some of the valuable lessons viewers can learn from the La Germania Food Babies series. While each featured business owner may have their specialty and recipe for success, what they all have in common is that the most important aspect to your brand’s success is investing in high quality kitchen equipment like La Germania!

Built according to the highest European standards in terms of construction and design, La Germania appliances allow you to prepare a multitude of dishes in an efficient and easy way. With guaranteed durability and superior quality, they’re a good investment for you to bring out your inner foodpreneur and climb the ladder to culinary success.

La Germania products are available online through La Germania’s official e-commerce website www.lagermaniaph.com and e-commerce platforms on Shopee and Lazada. You may follow the trusted kitchen and appliance brand’s official Facebook and Instagram accounts for more information on La Germania and its products.

ABOUT LA GERMANIA

Italian-heritage brand La Germania has been the preferred kitchen companion of Filipino homemakers for 53 years and counting. Its wide array of ovens, cooktops, and stoves is made of high-grade materials and designed to stand the test of time and extensive use. La Germania’s current line of products continues to serve the cooking needs and lifestyle of this generation and the next. To know more about La Germania and its products, visit http://www.lagermaniaph.com. The trusted kitchen partner of Filipinos also has its official stores on Shopee and Lazada.

Details and images provided by La Germania in a recent press release.

Gear up for cooking.

La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Electric Thermostat Oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven
La Germania Range FS5031 21XR oven

Header Photo by Daria Shetsova of Pexels

This post contains affiliate links.

CITEM kicks off first digital food expo

A year before the pandemic hit in 2019, the Philippine agri-food sector turned in a strong showing, accounting for an estimated P6.1T to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The same year also saw the sector employ 42.7% of the national workforce. 

In the new normal that changed our lives and livelihoods forever, The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM)  tries to recapture the same momentum for one of our country’s most lucrative export sectors.

This is made possible through the first-ever digital iteration of its banner sourcing event for Philippine food, the IFEX Digital Expo 2021, from September 23-25.

“One of the many things that the pandemic brought forth is the need to connect—now more than ever. COVID changed the way we at CITEM worked, especially with heightened activity online. With borderless communication at our disposal, we present through this expo how we can conduct the business of food in the new normal,” CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan shares.

Leveraging its access to advanced digital tools, CITEM stages the IFEX Digital Expo 2021 to provide an avenue for Philippine food brands and businesses to showcase homegrown food products and ingredients to a wider audience.

Themed “Salu-salo,” IFEX Digital Expo brings together business owners, restaurateurs, hoteliers, farmers, food manufacturers and distributors, retailers, culinary professionals and foodies. The event serves as a medium for strengthening the food community through storytelling, knowledge sharing, and creating dialogue. This year’s show features over 200 exhibitors from all over the country. There are also invited industry experts from global organizations and local government agencies who will share their knowledge and insights on trends, opportunities, and techniques related to food. Networking and business-to-business matching sessions will also be part of the online event’s features.

A Three-Day Digital Celebration of Philippine Food

One of the highlights of the IFEX Digital Expo is the launch of two online platforms foodphilippines.com and www.ifexconnect.com, developed by CITEM. FOODPhilippines.com will be the website of the banner brand for all of CITEM’s events and initiatives for the Philippine food sector. Meanwhile, IFEXConnect.com will serve as the agency’s new promotion and lead generation platform for the country’s food export industry. 

Expo delegates can look forward to a wide array of Philippine food product categories, including fine food and specialties, biscuits and confectionery, organic and natural food items and ingredients, and snacks and crispy savory food products.

In addition to the informative discussions, the expo is set to excite the palate through happy hour sessions such as coffee brewing. Take in the rich aromas and flavors of Philippine coffee on Day 1. Savor mouthwatering dishes as Chef Angelo Guison explores the flavorful gifts of coconut, from tree to plate, in Coco Pop on Day 2. Distinguish craft from draft with the Craft Beer Association of the Philippines and Philippine craft kings beer connoisseur Jazel Paraiso, as you sample a beer set and learn about beer-food pairing on Day 3.

Source From a Wide Array of Products at the Expo Section

The IFEX Digital Expo 2021 brings you an all-new digital sourcing experience through its Expo section on Hopin. Browse through a catalog of flavors harnessed from the Philippines’ distinct terroir and by Philippine food companies from all over the archipelago. In the three-day expo, you can also initiate business with food brands, export enablers, and business support organizations.

The IFEX Digital Expo 2021 is organized with the help of RAPID Growth, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Export Marketing Bureau-Halal (EMB-Halal), Philippine Coconut Authority, and DTI Regional Offices.

To join IFEX Digital Expo, register for free at https://bit.ly/IFEXDigitalExpo.  

The rest of the three-day expo are as follows:

ifex day 1
ifex day 2
ifex day 2

About CITEM

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) export promotions arm committed to nurturing the global competitiveness of Philippine micro, small, and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), exporters, designers, and manufacturers. The agency aspires toward the highest standards of creativity and innovation, and spanning industries including home, fashion, lifestyle, and food sectors.

About FOODPhilippines.com

FOODPhilippines.com is an interactive community platform with stories celebrating and promoting Philippine food. The platform is replete with narratives on food heritage, culinary personalities, and well-loved recipes as well as innovative takes on Pinoy food. 

www.foodphilippines.com

About IFEXConnect.com

IFEXConnect.com is a promotions and lead generation platform with business functionalities catered toward the needs of food exhibitors and buyers alike.The business-intensive portal is envisioned to be a sourcing platform that features digital storefronts of Philippine food exporters. Ready to serve the global market, IFEXConnect also has a business-matching facility to ensure access to and discoverability of well-loved Pinoy food products. 

www.ifexconnect.com

About IFEX Digital Expo

CITEM organized the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines, a homegrown platform for the country’s food sector and the country’s biggest and most respected business-to-business (B2B) event for Asian food and ingredients. The export promotions agency is also in the thick of preparations for the digital iteration of IFEX Philippines, the IFEX Digital Expo. From expos, workshops, business-matching, and networking sessions, the IFEX Digital Expo will have food-intensive activities suited to the taste of anyone who’s in the business and culture of food.

https://bit.ly/IFEXDigitalExpo

Details and images provided by CITEM in a recent press release.

WWF-Philippines holds webinar on Food Safety in The New Normal

As part of its celebration of June as the National Safety Month, WWF-Philippines, the local arm of the World Wide Fund, held the Panda Talk Food Safety: Everyone’s Business, a timely topic as the country transitions to The New Normal.

Panda Talks are WWF-Philippines’ free livestreaming educational events which aim to equip the public with information on conservation in line with the organization’s initiatives.

With many Filipinos going into buying foodstuffs online and home-based food selling, there is a need to establish food safety and food waste management practices.

Host Janine Gutierrez, WWF-Philippines’ National Youth Ambassador, and speaker Melody Melo-Rijk, WWF-Philippines’ Project Manager for the Sustainable Diner Project, discussed ways in which consumers and home-based food businesses can practice food safety in a COVID-19 world.

Food Safety in the New Normal (image sourced from freepik.com; article in beingjellybeans.com)

“Food safety is actually a shared responsibility between the food businesses and the dining public,” shares Melo-Rijk. “We all have a stake in making sure that our food is safe, nutritious and healthy to eat.”

Since COVID-19 is transmitted from human-to-human, physical distancing has become the norm. Although there is no evidence that food of animal origin can transmit the disease, preventing food contamination will reduce foodborne illness and the likelihood that novel diseases such as COVID-19 will emerge.

With these in mind, Melo-Rijk shared best practices to ensure food safety for both consumers and food businesses.

Food Safety at Home. The home has emerged as the safest place to be as it is an environment that can be easily controlled by the consumer. Steps to further safeguard household members from disease include:

  • Practice personal hygiene at all times. Washing hands from nails to elbows for twenty seconds will help to remove physical dirt and reduce microbes. Daily and thorough bathing of each household member will also prevent contamination and disease transfer. It is also important to be mindful of your water usage so turn off your faucet while still soaping your hands.
  • Clean and sanitize. Cleaning is the removal of visible physical dirt from surfaces while sanitizing involves the use of anti-bacterial agents to eliminate invisible micro-organisms. It is important to sanitize (between 60% to 85% FDA-approved sanitizing solutions are best) after cleaning to help reduce all possible contaminants.
  • Separate raw and cooked food. Raw food contains more micro-organisms than cooked food so these should be kept apart to avoid cross-contamination. This also involves the utensils use to handle food during preparation: ideally, a separate set of knives and chopping boards should be assigned for raw and cooked food; if this is too costly, food preparers can just make sure to clean and sanitize each tool prior to shifting from raw food to cooked food and vice versa.
  • Cook and store food properly. The key to cooking and storing food is temperature. Microorganisms grow best between the 5 deg and 60 deg Celsius (or 40 deg to 130 deg Fahrenheit). Food should be stored below 5 deg Celsius to slow the growth of microorganism and cooked above 60 deg Celsius to eliminate them.
  • Consume fresh food and clean water from safe sources. Avoid overstocking food to assure their freshness upon consumption. Be sure to check expiry dates of packaged food and the state of fresh produce regularly.

Food Safety in Businesses. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has already released guidelines for restaurants and food businesses to follow to ensure the safety of the dining public in accordance with the measures set by the US Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA). These include:

  • Employees must be clean and healthy. Food business employees must be free from COVID-19 and other diseases. Therefore, they must always practice stringent personal hygiene, wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPEs) such as gloves, hairnets, face masks and shields, work clothes and protective covers for shoes. They should undergo regular temperature checks and immediately report any symptoms to their employers. Diners must also be required to wear face masks, undergo temperature checks, step onto sanitizing mats and provide contact details for contract tracing.
  • Clean and sanitize. All surfaces in the dining and food preparation area (including utensils and equipment) must always be cleaned and sanitized. Ingredients should, of course, be meticulously cleaned.
  • Maintain physical distancing at all times. The standard of 2 meters (6 feet) must be practiced by employees and diners alike, supported by floor markers or signs. Self-service setups (wherein diners will proceed to different areas) and displays of food items (which will encourage diners to gather in certain areas) must be avoided.
  • Ensure protocols for delivery and pickup. Measures to ensure minimal physical contact should be implemented. For example, the use of cash or credit cards that involves physical objects changing hands should be avoided, and instead be replaced by cashless payment options like G-Cash and Paymaya which allow consumers to pay for their orders remotely using their mobile phones. Food delivery apps like GrabFood and FoodPanda have also released guidelines for contactless delivery which include designating a surface outside the home for the rider to drop off the order and pick up payment.

With these measures in place, the spread of diseases can hopefully be controlled and curtailed.

Food Safety in the New Normal (image sourced from freepik.com; article in beingjellybeans.com)

Minimizing Food Waste

Even in The New Normal, sustainability should still be a priority concern with food waste comprising 80% of the country’s solid waste. The Sustainable Diner Project is WWF-Philippines’ initiative that aims to lessen food wastage and contribute to the improvement of the implementation of sustainable consumption and production processes in the food service sector. From studies and talks done by the organization with stakeholders in the food industry, the project has provided steps that consumers and food business can follow to minimize food waste. These include:

  • Plan ahead. Check your refrigerator, pantry and other food storage areas and plan your menu before going out to buy food.
  • Check labels and expiry dates.
  • Ensure proper storage and preparation of food. Ensure that food storage equipment such as refrigerators and chillers are functioning properly. The designated food storage area should be a cool and dry place, free from rodents and pests. Make sure that the food you store is properly sealed to avoid attracting rodents.
  • Only buy products you can reasonably consume. Avoid overbuying food, especially perishables. WWF-Philippines also encourages consumers to buy “ugly” fruits and vegetables which are impertfect-looking produce due to discolorations or shape but are perfectly fine when peeled.
  • Be creative with your next meal. Being stuck at home has unleashed the hidden talent in cooking that many of us have. Try to maximize the existing ingredients in your pantry and even leftovers when preparing your next meal.

The Panda Talk Food Safety: Everyone’s Business may be viewed on Facebook.

About WWF-Philippines

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

WWF-Philippines has been successfully implementing various conservation projects to help protect some of the most biologically-significant ecosystems in Asia since its establishment as the 26th national organization of the WWF network in 1997.

Check out my other posts on conservation:

Header photo created by prostooleh – www.freepik.com

Food photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Open a box of happiness with cinnamon rolls from Rolls.PH

Did you know that cinnamon rolls originated from Sweden where it is called kanelbulle (“cinnamon bun”)? This Swedish pastry is an offshoot of the British Chelsea bun (a currant bun), the German schnecken (rolls made with sugar and currants), and other butter-infused yeast dough pastries that became popular in Northern Europe in the mid-1700s.

The cinnamon roll is usually enjoyed by the Swedish during fika, the time when they take a break from their day to sit down with friends and family to share some baked goods and coffee.

Rolls.PH

And who wouldn’t want these rolls during coffee break, hmm? The smell of the cinnamon wafting from the warm bun would surely tease your nose into lingering over a few cups of coffee as you ruminate over your day.

The Chelsea bun and the schnecken made their way across the Atlantic in the 1800s through English and German immigrants and found themselves in the New World, particularly in the cultural melting pot of Philadelphia where the size and make-up of the Chelsea bun are combined with the fillings of the schnecken roll, resulting in a large, caramelized cinnamon roll.

Today, cinnamon rolls are practically staples in coffee shops, oftentimes topped with a cream cheese icing that adds even more richness to the pastry.

Rolls.PH

Rolls.PH

Rolls.PH

But, guess what: you can enjoy it at home, at your workplace or wherever you are thanks to Rolls.ph.

This online business is the brainchild of two Immaculate Concepcion Academy students who discovered a way to produce the perfect homemade cinnamon rolls – soft, moist and not too sweet.

These rolls are all made by hand using premium ingredients and are priced at:

  • Single: Php60
  • Box of 6: Php350
  • Box of 12: Php600

These buns are ideal as coffee break treats, holiday gifts for friends and family or as one’s potluck contribution to family gatherings.

Plus, your purchase of these buns also help build a learning center in Mindoro as well as fund environmental cleanup groups.

So wouldn’t you want to get yourself or someone special a box (or two… or more :-)) of these yummy cinnamon rolls for the holidays?

Rolls.PH

Rolls.PH

You can order from Rolls.ph through the following:

  • Call +63 917 5350923
  • Email officialrolls.ph@­gmail.com
  • Send a private message via Facebook or Instagram

Disclosure: A product sample was provided to me to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business: