Tag: Franchising in the Philippines

Beverage maker cites social media help in growing bottled fruit, veggie juice business

By Oliver Samson
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IT’S a fruity year for Arielle G. Escalona. The managing director of Fruit Magic Co. Inc., the company behind the “Pure Nectar” brand, sees business expanding.

She sees commissaries and more partners sprouting outside Metro Manila as the number of bottled fruit and vegetable juice consumers, as well as public curiosity, continue to grow.

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The 27-year-old Escalona attributes the spike in the consumption of bottled juices of fruits and vegetables to the increasing health and wellness consciousness among the public, and the fast-paced lifestyle, especially in urban areas.

The company currently produces a daily average of around 3,500 300-milliliter bottles of fruit and vegetable juices, she said.

This was well above the less than 100 bottles the company produced in a day in 2014.

“We are looking at Cebu and Davao” for expansion, she said.

Online marketing

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THE positive feedbacks the company has been receiving recently have mostly come from two of the largest cities in the Visayas and Mindanao, she added.

“I personally handle the social-media account,” Escalona said. “So we have a lot of inquiry from Davao and Cebu.”

She added that social media has played a big part in getting the products to the public’s awareness.

“One of the challenges we encountered when we introduced Pure Nectar in 2014 was they found the products expensive,” Escalona said. What we did then was educate the market through the social media, explaining the products were not really pricey as the standards applied involved value in ensuring quality, she added.

Social media was harnessed to help consumers get answer to virtually every question usually asked, like how the commissary look liked, how the products were made, the best time to consume them, and other things.

“We really [spent] time online to answer questions,” Escalona said. “I think social media was a very big tool for business expansion because that’s how we got inquiry from big brands to have us in their menu.”

She said social media serves as the company’s main tool in advertising products.

Looking at entirety

SHORTLY after graduating from Ateneo De Manila University in 2014, Escalona joined the business in June as a marketing officer, assuming the responsibility of product promotions.

“But eventually, when I looked into the entire business I saw there was an opportunity to grow it even more,” Escalona said.

That year, the “Fruit Magic” brand was transformed into Pure Nectar.

The concepts were carefully conceptualized.

“I did the logo, the branding, the packaging and we tested it out that year,” she said. “We also did the research. The company was fully launched as Pure Nectar by the end of year.”

The company started selling bottled fruit and vegetable juices in locations with existing Fruit Magic stores. At the time, Fruit Magic had over 20 stores in Metro Manila.

“When I entered the business, I felt there was a need for delivery, and e-commerce,” she said. “I wanted something on-the-go. Fruit Magic was purely shakes and smoothies, so you would have to wait in line for five to 10 minutes.”

Integrating with partners

WITH bottled fruit and vegetable juices, one would not need to queue that long, Escalona explained. One could instantly grab his or her choice at a store and enjoy it anytime and anywhere.

“We revolutionized it,” she said. “What really grew the business was when we started partnering with brands.”

Pure Nectar stores could sell products in stores other than its own because the fruit and vegetable juices are in bottles, unlike fruit and vegetable shakes, she explained.

The company puts refrigerators in partner-stores that include Pure Nectar’s products to their menu.

The company has currently over 250 outlets, including partner-stores.

Some of the partner-stores label Pure Nectar’s fruit and vegetable juices with their own company name.

The Pure Nectar brand is currently partnered with Shell’s “Deli2Go” brand, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee shop, and Pepper Lunch-brand restaurants.

“We’ll be selling the juices in their selected stores so you can buy it,” Escalona said. “At Shell Deli2Go and Coffee Bean, it’s their own label. At Pepper Lunch, it’s Pure Nectar.”

Various flavors

THE company currently offers some 40 flavors of fruit and vegetable juices that come in nearly all colors, except blue, Escalona said.

Some of the flavors are mixed juices of several fruits and vegetables. Others are juices of one or two fruits; some with vegetable extracts and some pure vegetable.

Their products have no sugar, no additives and no colorants, Escalona said. The products are natural and bottled, as well as stored without preservatives, she added. People can choose from about 40 flavors and have to drink their choice in just a few days for best consumption.

Some flavors are made of up to a dozen fruits and vegetables, Escalona said, citing the company’s best-seller “Green Supreme” flavor.

“Pure Nectar advocates good taste in the beverage.”

Escalona noted there still is the notion that a healthy drink must be expensive and the tongue should find the taste awful.

“We really wanted to change that,” she said. “So, when I entered the business, the challenge I saw in a working person was where he would find a healthy grab-and-go drink. What we wanted to do was to cater to the taste of Filipinos.”

Evolved over time

THE company sources farmers in Davao, Olangapo City, and other parts of the country for fruits and vegetables.

“We order about 2 tons of coconut a week,” Escalona said. “Since the business had actually started in 1993, we have a lot of farmers [whom] we support.”

Making the products accessible to people has been an issue that was worked out along the way, she pointed out.

“That’s where the business model has evolved over time,” Escalona said, adding that previous feedbacks included inquiry on why the products were not available in particular areas.

“What we did to speed up distribution was to partner with brands that have existing multiple branches,” she said. “That’s the strategy now. We are partnering with brands.” Pure Nectar has about 20 outlets of its own in Metro Manila, Escalona added.

“People associate healthy lifestyle with fruits and vegetables,” she said. “You really have to include fruits and vegetables in your diet. Since it’s part of your lifestyle, we made it convenient for you. I think that’s what made us successful.”

Responding to needs

ESCALONA believes the bottled fruit and vegetable juices market is growing because of the demand of a fast-paced lifestyle.

She said they also meet the need of those who want healthy beverage but don’t have the time to prepare the juice.

It takes too much time: from going to a market to choosing fruits and vegetables and extracting the substance at home in a juicer, according to Escalona, who graduated in high school from Saint Pedro Poveda College.

“Why people need us is because we are very available,” she said. “Right now, we also have online delivery.”

The company’s products are formulated by an expert in the field of nutrition, noted Escalona, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies at Ateneo de Manila University.

“All of our flavors are created by an in-house nutritionist, especially created for Filipino lifestyle,” she said.

They cold-press—uses 14,000 pounds of pressure—and blend the fruits and vegetables to get the juice, Escalona said.

Sights abroad

THROUGH cold-press, fruits and vegetables yield most of their nutrients, she explained. Blending, on the other hand, the fruits and vegetables yield the fiber.

Mango, for one, could not be cold-pressed since most of its fiber would effectively yield only to blending, she said.

“A lot of people are getting more conscious about what they eat, so they want to read about it,” she said. “And we are honest with the things written on our bottles and in our marketing. We don’t claim anything that we are not sure of.”

The company is looking at making the products accessible in more locations inside and outside of Metro Manila in the next five years, she said.

Pure Nectar has put up an outlet in Singapore in May this year after establishing presence in Brunei Darussalam in July 2018. The company is also looking at putting up another in Cambodia late this year or early 2020.


This article is written by the Author in the by-line and was originally posted by Business Mirror in their website which can be accessed at https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/08/04/beverage-maker-cites-social-media-help-in-growing-bottled-fruit-veggie-juice-business/

Lim: Franchising to grow 10% to 15% this year

Efforts to sustain the growth of the country’s Franchising sector continue to be the focus of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) in its bid to further enhance economic inclusivity.

The PFA said that the country’s franchising industry is expecting a conservative 10-percent to 15-percent  growth this year, and by 20 percent by 2020.

As such, Sam Christopher Lim, PFA chairman for Asean, said the organization aims to boost the local economy by promoting franchising as a vehicle for economic empowerment.

“The idea is to promote inclusive growth. This was the battle cry since two years ago,” he stressed in a recent interview.

And one good venue to achieve such is through the Franchise Asia 2018 to be held on July 18 at the SMX Convention Center.

Lim and the other PFA officials are busy preparing for this event that would serve as a platform to promote the country’s franchising—and the Asean region, as well—to the rest of the world.

The event will help facilitate international expansion of franchise brands and concepts in the region.

Under his initiative, Lim is leading the PFA’s shift in its digital marketing efforts. He started the NextGen in Franchising Program to search for young entrepreneurs who can be potential franchise leaders of the country.

“We want to encourage people 35 years old and below who have not been into the franchising business to join. We give them exposure and really get them exposed into franchising,” he said.

Moreover, the PFA has organized 14 different breakout sessions to allow participants to choose a topic that suits their interest. There will be various panel sessions that will highlight topics on franchising and entrepreneurship.

In the 2018 edition of Franchise Asia, Lim said they are veering away from the traditional setup of gathering people in one big room listening to a speaker. Instead, there will be more than 30 roundtable sessions to enable networking among the participants, and at the same time, learn from the delegates about specific topics.

Lim said the PFA is giving a 50-percent discount for provincial delegates to encourage broader participation.

To spice up the event, Lim said the PFA is organizing the “Great Debate” to determine whether social-media influencers or celebrity endorsers are more effective in building the brand. The audience will decide and track the change in the opinion room.

For the expos, Lim said, the PFA expects more than 700 brands to join the event with more than 52,000 visitors to attend the event.  Lim also said the expo will conduct over 10 different seminar sessions for owners and investors.

Also, as the expo area will be larger, or double as that of last year’s, Lim said the food park will showcase new franchise brands from around the country.

For people interested to venture into franchising, the PFA will put up incubation booths to guide aspiring entrepreneurs.   Meanwhile, the PFA will put up regional pavilions for micro entrepreneurs across the Philippines to expose them to both local and international consumers and businesses.

“Our focus before is Metro Manila to promote inclusivity. Four years ago, 5 percent of the clients come out of Metro Manila. Now, it is 40 percent,” Lim said.

As an entrepreneur, Lim heads the U-Franchise Sales and Management, a company’s that helps find the right match for the franchisee. “Right now, there are 1,500 franchise brands in the Philippines. Imagine if someone wants to get into business choosing from 1,500 brands is difficult,” he explained.

U-Franchise has partnered with Singapore-based Astreem Consulting, Ltd to help them in their sales and marketing campaign.

Lim recalled that U-Franchise was not doing well when he came back from working overseas. “If we didn’t turn this around in six months, we’ll just shut down the business,” he said.

“No one was focusing on it yet. What we realized was that we lack a partner. What I did was to form a joint venture with a Singaporean company called Astreem Consulting whose expertise is sales,” he said.

“We managed to turn it around. The business has grown ten times since 10 years ago. Now, it is working very well, and partly because of partnerships and working with other people,” he added.

Lim said they offer potential franchisees matching services for free. “We also aim to help more Filipino brands get into the global market,” he pointed out.

“One of my frustrations when working abroad was that I never saw any Filipino brands. Romulo Cafe opened a branch in London. But you don’t see enough Filipino brands, and we know we have some of the best and the brightest brands here,” he added.

Lim, son of the father of Philippine franchising, Samie, also works as the chief marketing officer of Francorp, a 20-year old consulting company which helps businesses grow so they can be the next big thing in franchising.

“We have created an ecosystem of consulting services to assist any entrepreneur who needs help in franchising, branding, digital marketing so they can grow further not only locally but abroad as well,” he said.

Lim also partnered with millennials to form Zoom Lab Digital that serves the digital marketing needs of the MSMEs. It has now 15 clients in the Philippines as well as clients overseas.

Furthermore, Lim also formed AS Louken Sachi in 2015, a company that provides international brand consulting, strategic brand operations and Southeast Asia regional stewardship.

For Lim, his job in the PFA is not a walk in the park. Nevertheless, it gives him satisfaction. “Being in the PFA is demanding work, but it’s fun because you get to work with some of the best in the  industry. It’s a true collaborative effort to grow the industry.”

*This article is copied and originally  published by Business Mirror  on July 10, 2018 and is also available online at https://businessmirror.com.ph/lim-franchising-to-grow-10-to-15-this-year/