Ventura Foods eyes robust trade in Aspac

UNITED States-based consumer packaged goods (CPG) provider Ventura Foods is now gaining traction of the Asia-Pacific (Aspac) market since it expanded to the Philippines about a year ago to cater to the growing needs of the food service and restaurant industry in the country and the rest of the region, its top executive said.

International Ventura Foods President Yann Kervoern told the BusinessMirror they currently supply their products to more than 15 clients across Aspac from their facility here.

In 2015 the company tied up with homegrown Oleo-Fats Inc. to produce and market its products not just for the domestic market, but also for export throughout the region, specifically Southeast Asia, North Asia, China, Australia and New Zealand.

“As we continue building industrial capability across multiple product categories, such as specialty oils and mayonnaise, sauces and dressings, we are more on a start-up commercializing mode across the Aspac region. This being said, we are already securing some key customer wins across multiple categories and across the region,” he said.

Kervoern attributed their improved business to regional demand for high-quality and original sauces and dressings recipes, willingness to customize products and formulas to meet our customer needs, strong research and development support and customer service, as well as competitive pricing.

While Ventura has retail and industrial portfolios, it’s mainly focused on food service as it comprised two-thirds of its business. What separates it from competitors in the CPG category is its specialization in customization.

“We don’t make one product that we sell to everybody. We try to understand everybody’s different needs and tailor to their requirements,” Kervoern said.

Given its growing market, Aspac was a natural choice for Ventura to expand outside the US, and the Philippines is a strategic location to serve the entire region.

Ventura Food Director of International Operations for the Asia-Pacific Region Glenn Lobo noted it was the practice of quick-service restaurant (QSR) chains that expand globally to use local suppliers in many markets.

They had to make do with what’s available, because importing those same sauces from the US would be too costly, which would result in a less price-competitive end product, he said.

Another reason for the company’s foray in Aspac is to be competitive in terms of pricing and quality, Lobo said.

“In the region, we know we will be tariff and duty-friendly and cost competitive, but at the same time, to be able to make our customer and their customers happy what they’re eating is something similar to what they’ll be eating at when they’re in the US or anywhere else,” he said.

As Ventura Foods was looking for “the right partner” in Southeast Asia, Kervoern cited they considered the Philippines’s strategic location to not only serve the Southeast Asia markets, but also other regions, such as North Asia; very competitive sea freight from the country to all Aspac areas; as well as English speaking, talented and educated work force.

“In our search for the right partner in the Southeast Asia region, we were looking for a company that shares the same vision and values as Ventura Foods, i.e., our drive to help our customers delight their customers and our agility and openness to customize our product offering to their specific needs. And we found the same intent and philosophy with Oleo-Fats,” he said.

Ventura’s presence in the region is growing, and with local production capabilities, the company expects constant momentum that’s set to match the booming growth in various related and complementary industries, such as tourism and casual dining.

“We can expect significant growth as our base is still small and as we bring on new businesses and customers,” the president of International Ventura Foods said.