Yogurt Plant For ASEAN Planned

AB Pascual Foods Co., the 50-50 joint venture of Filipino beverage giant Asia Brewery Inc. (ABI) and Spanish milk and dairy giant Grupo Leche Pascual, has announced plans to invest P800-million yogurt manufacturing plant in the country in two to three year's time transforming the Philippines as its production hub for Southeast Asia.

ABI Chief Executive Officer Michael Tan and Grupo Leche President Tomas Pascual jointly announced this at yesterday's formal launch of the joint venture. The event also marked the introduction of the company's first yogurt product offering "Creamy Delight" in the local market.

Pascual said the plant's production capacity would be 10 to 20 million tons. It could be established in two to three years depending on the market performance.

"It would serve as the production hub for its exports to the Asean market," said Pascual.

For part, Tan said the local plant would be established somewhere in Cabuyao, Laguna.

He said the joint venture is borne out of the need to improve the dairy intake of Filipinos.

Tan noted the huge gap of dairy and milk products in Filipino diet.

"The per capita consumption is only one fourth of cup," he said.

The company will initially import the yogurt to be supplied to the nationwide.

The company expects to double the current estimates of 2.6 million kilograms or 1 million cases a year of yogurt consumption and capture 50 percent of the local market.

Tan said that "Creamy Delight," which is being sold for P15 per piece for the original flavor and P20 for the thick and creamy variant, is 40 to 50 percent cheaper than the existing yogurt brands in the local market.

Tan expressed optimism the yogurt market will grow because of the growing awareness among Filipinos for healthy and nutritious food.

Pascual explained that "Creamy Delight" is made from 100 percent fresh premium milk collected daily from the fresh fields of Spain, joined with the finest selection of real fruits and controlled by the highest quality standards. Creamy Delight is a good source of calcium, protein, minerals and vitamins. A serving of this yogurt is equivalent to two-thirds glass of milk. It comes in four variants: Flavors, Thick & Creamy, Yogikids and Non-Fat.

The partnership between ABI and Grupo Leche Pascual started during a state visit of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Spain. The planned joint venture was first announced by then Trade and Industry Secretary Jesli Lapus. (BCM)

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