F&B World - - Start-up Stories - By Nana Nadal


Unilever, through its leading brand Knorr, has pro­vided P30 mil­lion worth of school meals for school chil­dren in Min­danao since it part­nered with the United Na­tions World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) in 2008. One of their projects that worked to­wards end­ing the plight of world hunger was a so­cial me­dia cam­paign, which uti­lized the School Meal Face­book ap­pli­ca­tion. For ev­ery ’like‘ re­ceived, Unilever promised to do­nate one school meal to WFP. An­other ef­fort is the Food for Change event, a food fair where tick­ets were sold to help feed school chil­dren in the de­pressed ar­eas of Min­danao at the same time al­low ac­cess to tast­ing sam­ple of dishes fla­vored with Knorr from roughly 50 par­tic­i­pat­ing food con­ces­sion­aires.

Pizza Hut and Taco Bell Philip­pines are also sup­port­ers of the WFP. In 2012, funds were col­lected from a to­tal of 150 Pizza Hut and four Taco Bell branches na­tion­wide by en­cour­ag­ing cus­tomers to lend their sup­port in var­i­ous ways: by pur­chas­ing limited-edi­tion post­cards signed by World Hunger Re­lief 2012 Vol­un­teer Sham­cey Sup­sup; adding P5, 10 or 20 to their to­tal bill; or donat­ing through coin banks placed at all of the par­tic­i­pat­ing restaurants.


The food in­dus­try has never been as dy­namic and as vi­brant as it has been the past few years. But the businesses are not just all about good times and profit. Many of them ex­tend their cre­ativ­ity and skills in pro­vid­ing more than just nour­ish­ment for the body. We have rounded up a few in­spir­ing ini­tia­tives that give back to the com­mu­nity. Barely a few hours af­ter typhoon Yolanda’s wrath re­vealed it­self, the own­ers of Yabu: House of Katsu de­cided to do­nate a day’s net profit from all its seven branches to the vic­tims. They turned to so­cial me­dia for pro­mo­tion. They an­nounced their plan via Face­book, In­sta­gram, and Twit­ter and sought the help of blog­gers. They had only two days to spread the word. “It was very well ac­cepted, people liked the idea of giv­ing back and at the same time eat­ing good food. Some people lined up for four hours just to dine in.” Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Denise Cab­o­tage shares. The pro­ceeds of the day were do­nated to the Philip­pine Red Cross for med­i­cal sup­plies and mo­bile am­bu­lances. Yabu en­gaged in the same ac­tiv­ity dur­ing two other pre­vi­ous calami­ties.

The sup­port from the F&B com­mu­nity was wide­spread, with some es­tab­lish­ments co­or­di­nat­ing joint fund rais­ing days and pledges to do­nate their sales for the typhoon vic­tims, that continues un­til the present.

FOOD 911

Yolanda is also re­spon­si­ble for the es­tab­lish­ment of Kusi­na­tion. Work­ing with the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment, Kusi­na­tion was able to cook on the spot and pro­vide hot meals for the Yolanda sur­vivors who ar­rived at the Vil­lamor Air­base via the C-130. The brain­child of chef Reg­gie Aspi­ras, USDA Agri­cul­tural Mar­ket­ing Specialist Ra­mona Sin­gian, and PR ex­ec­u­tive Alan Ger­man, it is vi­su­al­ized to be­come a first re­sponse team for food. The plan is to be able to set-up a kitchen and pre­pare food in two hours, any­where in the coun­try that’s stricken with dis­as­ter. Part of the vi­sion in­cludes hav­ing a sec­re­tariat man­age the do­na­tions and vol­un­teers, to en­sure that con­tri­bu­tions are prop­erly uti­lized and max­i­mized. “This is re­ally na­tion build­ing, the pri­vate sec­tor work­ing with the govern­ment, be­cause one can’t live with­out the other,” stressed chef Reg­gie.


The Mar­riott chain has a very strong Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­gram. Called Spirit to Serve (STS), em­ploy­ees are given op­por­tu­ni­ties to help the com­mu­nity in sev­eral ways. At Manila Mar­riot Ho­tel, one is the monthly feed­ing pro­gram with Red Cross, where ap­prox­i­mately 200 un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren are given a good meal. Af­ter the dev­as­tat­ing Haba­gat of 2013, their culi­nary team went around the dif­fer­ent ar­eas of Pasay to pro­vide food to the af­fected fam­i­lies.

These en­deav­ors are a source of pride for its em­ploy­ees. “STS ini­tia­tives re­ceive high par­tic­i­pa­tion from our as­so­ciates, whether it be through giv­ing of their time, do­na­tion or skills. And they al­ways say that this cul­ture is one of the rea­sons they are proud to work for the com­pany,” re­veals Nina Quinto, Di­rec­tor of Hu­man Re­sources.


Life­style Net­work do­nated 100% of the ticket sales from the re­cent Around the Philip­pines in Small

Plates to ICanServe Foun­da­tion, to help pro­mote breast cancer aware­ness. The event fea­tured big name chefs who served one sig­na­ture dish for the night. Ticket hold­ers were en­ti­tled to a tast­ing por­tion of each of these dishes. “Most of the chefs just do­nated the budget al­lot­ted to them and con­trib­uted their ser­vices for free. It was an ex­cit­ing get to­gether for the in­dus­try play­ers, a great op­por­tu­nity to keep abreast on each other’s works,” ob­serves Cyrene de la Rosa, cu­ra­tor of event.


Healthy liv­ing while help­ing oth­ers - such a sound idea from the ECHOtrio of Pacita Juan, Jean­nie Javelosa and Regina Fran­cisco. From ECHO­s­tore, then ECHO­cafe, ECHO­farm, and ECHO­mar­ket, all the busi­ness own­ers wanted was to sup­port lo­cal farm­ers, pro­vide re­tail space and open new av­enues for them while they sup­ply the mar­ket with the best avail­able prod­ucts lo­cally. These are or­ganic, healthy pro­duce with no preser­va­tives, steroids, or chem­i­cals mixed into them. “Now, it will even be eas­ier to shift to a sus­tain­able life­style,” says Jean­nie Javelosa, Co-Founder of ECHO­s­tore Sus­tain­able Life­style and Pres­i­dent of ECHOsi Foun­da­tion.


New York-based restau­ra­teur and book au­thor Amy Besa and her hus­band, Chef Romy Dorotan founded and es­tab­lished Ang Sar­il­ing Atin (ASA) Culi­nary Her­itage In­sti­tute to cham­pion the preser­va­tion of the culi­nary her­itage of the Philip­pines as well as get a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the true palate of the Filipinos. Filipino tra­di­tions (recipes, old cook­ing tech­niques and tra­di­tional cook­ing equip­ment) are get­ting lost with to­day’s cul­ture of con­ve­nience and ASA wants to en­sure that there will still be some­thing left for the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to ap­pre­ci­ate. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is work­ing on set­ting up com­mu­nity kitchens, invit­ing schools to let their stu­dents im­merse them­selves in indige­nous cook­ing and other sim­i­lar ac­tiv­i­ties that will bring them closer to their goals.

Chef Reg­gie Aspi­ras, one of the mo­ti­vat­ing forces be­hind Kusi­na­tion.

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