SPE­CIAL DE­LIV­ERY

HARD-TO-GET FOOD PROD­UCTS ARE NOW WITHIN REACH AS A YOUNG STARTUP BRINGS ED­I­BLE FINDS FROM THE PROV­INCES TO THE CAP­I­TAL

F&B World - - NEWS - Text by JANICA BALASOLLA Photo by NICCO SAN­TOS

This bot­tled food dis­tri­bu­tion brand ex­plores the pos­si­bil­i­ties of trans­port­ing pro­vin­cial best­sellers to Manila and be­yond

“We’re still a startup busi­ness but I’m glad that it’s able

to help small fam­ily busi­nesses and en­ter­prises.”

The name is al­most a dead give­away.

While it hints at pro­vin­cial best­sellers, the ref­er­ence is far and wide, al­lud­ing to any­thing from songs to tourist at­trac­tions. In this case, Probin­sya Hits refers to food. The so­cial en­ter­prise of sib­lings Scott and Vanessa Abella dis­trib­utes home­made goods from small fam­ily busi­nesses in Visayas and Min­danao to Metro Manila.

Op­er­a­tions started in 2015 but the prod­uct lineup was only of­fi­cially launched in Oc­to­ber 2016. “Some­times, for small busi­nesses, the way to ex­pand is usu­ally to go to an area where there’s more buy­ing power, and here in the Philip­pines, it’s re­ally in Metro Manila.”

To date, Probin­sya Hits dis­trib­utes bot­tled seafood like ban­gus belly sar­dines in orig­i­nal and spicy fla­vors from Cebu and gourmet tuyo from Capiz as well as wine vari­ants like big­nay and duhat from Ne­gros and pineap­ple white wine from Cebu.

“For the past months, we’ve ex­posed these prod­ucts to other peo­ple and we’ve re­ceived so much good feed­back,” says Vanessa. “A lot of ba­lik­bayans would or­der car­tons (around 24 bot­tles each) and we would send them abroad. We also dis­trib­ute to neigh­bor­hood gro­cers, chefs, res­tau­rants, and even those who own va­ca­tion re­sorts. We get a lot of or­ders from ran­dom peo­ple, too. These peo­ple can fin­ish the prod­ucts in one to two weeks,” she adds.

With the grow­ing num­ber of pa­trons, Probin­sya Hits ought to be on the shelves of su­per­mar­kets by now, but the sib­lings are hes­i­tant. “Su­per­mar­kets usu­ally have a con­sign­ment busi­ness model and it’s a busi­ness model we don’t sub­scribe to. We do fair trade with our sup­pli­ers; they dic­tate the price and we buy the goods straight and in bulk so we get a good price also. In re­turn, they get cap­i­tal right away and con­tinue with pro­duc­tion.” To make up for ac­ces­si­bil­ity, Probin­sya Hits tapped neigh­bor­hood gro­cers and joined the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) to par­tic­i­pate in more trade fairs and bazaars un­til sup­plies last.

They fully re­spect and ad­here to their sup­pli­ers’ pro­duc­tion process and wait un­til it’s har­vest time be­fore they or­der the items. “Our sup­pli­ers some­times have spe­cial tech­niques for the goods; at the very least we just find out the in­gre­di­ents and the gen­eral process so we can also tell our cus­tomers when they ask.” The only con­di­tion that Probin­sya Hits has with their sup­pli­ers is that they give the goods with­out the la­bels to keep the con­sis­tency of the brand.

Pack­ag­ing also comes from small en­ter­prises. As for lo­gis­tics, ev­ery­thing is done by the sib­lings. “The lo­gis­tics from the prov­inces is a trade se­cret, but once they get to Manila, we are the ones who per­son­ally de­liver. It’s just the two of us but by ex­ten­sion (and affin­ity) our mom, dad, or younger brother brings them to the cus­tomers.”

Since join­ing the DA’s pool of ex­hibitors, a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties and po­ten­tial part­ner­ships have opened up for Probin­sya Hits. Up to now, the sib­lings still can’t be­lieve that they ran out of stock af­ter Madrid Fusión Manila, but new prod­ucts are on the way. The vol­ume of or­ders can take its toll on them but the two be­lieve that it’s their com­mit­ment to the sup­pli­ers and the brand of ser­vice to con­sumers that make them a hit in the mar­ket. “We’re still a startup busi­ness but I’m glad that it’s able to help small fam­ily busi­nesses and en­ter­prises,” says Scott. There are many things to look for­ward to for Probin­sya Hits now that more prod­ucts are in the pipe­line. “Be pre­pared for the gas­tro­nom­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence,” they say. For or­ders, con­tact Vanessa Abella at (0925) 574 2683.

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