Taste is power: How condiments built a company

Posted at 08/10/14 9:05 AM

MANILA -- Taste is power.

Philippine company NutriAsia, Inc. a leading manufacturer and distributor of Pinoy condiments, has been reaping success for its knowledge of Filipino taste.

NutriAsia started operations in 1991 when its founder, Joselito Campos, acquired Nelicom brand, a major condiments brand in North Luzon.

The company started with a small factory, producing catsup, vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce.

In a series of acquisitions, NutriAsia soon merged with more leading household brands like Jufran and Mafran ketchup, Datu Puti, Papa Ketchup, and Mang Tomas Lechon Sauce.

In 1996, the company acquired the popular banana catsup brand, UFC Tamis-Anghang Banana Catsup.

With its iconic brands of popular Filipino condiments, NutriAsia has deeply entrenched itself in the local food market.

NutriAsia's Datu Puti Vinegar is the market leader in vinegar, while Datu Puti Soy Sauce is the market leader in soy sauce in Luzon.

From glass bottles and plastic caps, the company is now using recyclable PET bottles for its vinegar and soy sauce.

It has also expanded one of its major products by producing its line of Filipino vinegars from different parts of the country: Sukang Iloko, Sukang Pula, Sukang Sinamak, and Pinoy Spice, among others.

In a press briefing, Angie Go Flaminiano, president and chief operating officer of NutriAsia, said 90% of Filipinos consume banana catsup.

As one of the biggest banana catsup brands, UFC has become a mainstay in many Filipino homes.

Aside from its Tamis-Anghang Banana Catsup variant, UFC has expanded to include cook-in tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, and hot sauce.


The company is also home to Mang Tomas Lechon Sauce, one of the few brands in its category.

Traditionally made with pork and liver, NutriAsia has also started to manufacture a halal version of the famous lechon sauce, which they export to the United States and Middle East.

The company is also one of the first to use palm oil in their cooking oil, which gave consumers an alternative to vegetable oil, the kind commonly used in Filipino households.

Although the company has depended on Filipino "taste" for its success, Flaminiano admitted that they also have to adapt to the changing palate of the people.

Aside from the traditional local "patis" (fish sauce), Datu Puti has also introduced its version of the sweeter Thai fish sauce.

Flaminiano added that they will soon venture in recreating popular Southeast Asian condiments such as Indonesia's kecap manis (sweet soy sauce).

"We make our customers happy, thus we are their most preferred supplier. We treat them fairly and with respect. Our strategic alliances with our trade partners always achieve mutually sustainable business success," she said.