Gardenia Bakeries is creating a nationwide network of bread facilities to ensure the stable supply of bread from Luzon to Mindanao.
The company, which started as an in-store bakery in Singapore in 1978 and expanded to the Philippines in 1997, has recently inaugurated a fully-automated bread manufacturing facility in Pampanga and a world-class bread factory in Cagayan de Oro City.
Gardenia Bakeries Philippines Inc. president Simplicio Umali Jr. says the company is moving forward with “Bake to the Future 2.0”.
“For the first time in Gardenia’s history in the Philippines, Gardenia Bakeries opens two huge factories with sophisticated technologies in a span of four months. This is truly a significant milestone for Gardenia in its 21 years in the Philippine bakery industry,” Umali says.
“Gardenia is bringing the future of breadmaking [here] and we are excited to embrace the limitless possibilities in the north as we officially open a completely new and automated bread plant in Pampanga,” he says.
Top company executives went to Europe in search of the most advanced technology suited for Philippine operations and attended robotics technology show while scouting for the best available manufacturing process.
“The whole plant is computer-controlled starting from the use of an upgraded concept in the ingredient handling and makeup systems, proofing, use of robotics in handling baking pans and unique technology in the depanning process which promises to be gentle to the bread, completely untouched by human hands,” Umali says.
“The use of tumbler to check all four sides of the loaf bread and the presence of tornado cleaner to ensure all baking pans are clean and free of crumbs were also incorporated in the process,” he says.
The oven baking system will continue to use environment-friendly liquefied petroleum gas like in the other Gardenia factories, according to Umali.
The company is proud of the fact that all equipment, machines and baking technologies were sourced from the best baking equipment suppliers from Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and the United States.
“The expertise in making advanced equipment from different sources operates as one integrated and a fully automated system [and] is a proprietary technical capability developed by Gardenia in its factories in Asia. This fusion of technology differentiates us from the competition,” Umali says.
The sophisticated technology together with a proprietary manufacturing process and premium and finest ingredients all contribute to the freshly-baked aroma, softness and delicious taste of the world-class Gardenia bread.
Umali says the newest plant in Pampanga is designed to allow consumers to visit and witness the modern baking process through a catwalk plant tour especially for consumers from North Luzon.
The Pampanga plant is Gardenia’s second-biggest facility next to the Laguna plant with two production lines and a provision for expansion for a third and even a fourth line.
“This new factory has a white loaf production line, a flavored loaf line, a bun and pandesal line and a snack toast line. With these four new production lines, the Pampanga factory will be able to produce nearly 400,000 loaves and buns every day ready for delivery to supermarkets, groceries and convenience stores,” he says.
Vitabread Food Products Inc. handles bread manufacturing for the North and Central Luzon bread needs and supports Metro Manila markets, while Gardenia Bakeries Philippines ensures the marketing and distribution of finished Gardenia products.
A wide selection of Gardenia products will be produced in the Pampanga bread facility, including white bread, health bread selections, flavored loaf offerings, buns or pandesal and Neubake loaf and bread rolls.
The Teco Industrial Estate in Mabalacat, Pampanga houses the newest Gardenia plant which is strategically situated near North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.
It offers an efficient trade and distribution gateway to the provinces in Central Luzon, Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.
The P2-billion plant is located adjacent to major transportation hubs of Subic Seaport, Clark International Airport and the newest business district of Clark Global City.
Umali says the new bread plant is accessible with direct logistics connections, a delivery strategy employed by the company for all its plants in the Philippines.
He says in case of breakdowns or natural disasters, the plant can supply Metro Manila and Southern Luzon which is the same case for the bread factories in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro that can also serve the Visayas market, providing back-up for each plant.
With the current logistics and distribution capabilities, Gardenia reaches as far as Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Isabela, Kalinga and Cagayan. With Vitabread in place, it will be able to reach even the smallest stores in these areas, says Umali.
With the two new bread factories, Gardenia now has a combined capacity of producing more than 1.8 million loaves and buns a day, serving the bread requirements of Filipino consumers nationwide.
The increased production capability and expanded operations require more extensive market saturation, new area penetration and wider distribution coverage to reach more Filipino consumers in the farthest north and farthest south of the Philippines, Umali says.
“As the market leader in the industry with more than 60 percent market share, we can contribute in ensuring food security and continuous supply of bread, not only during long weekends or when there are special occasions, but also even when there are typhoons, flooding or earthquakes,” Umali says.
“As we bring our fresh, great-tasting quality products to more and more Filipinos, we will definitely expand our fleet of trucks all over Luzon and Metro Manila to distribute across various distribution channels,” he says.
Gardenia’s rapid sales growth makes it necessary to add more plant facilities to cater to the increasing bread demand in the Philippines.
Umali says the Philippines’ consumption of bread per person is still lower compared to its neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore. With increased supply and availability of quality and great-tasting bread, consumption is expected to grow faster, he says.
“While we are a rice-eating country but due to lifestyle changes and increased health consciousness of Filipinos, bread consumption is growing,” Umali says.
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