By Maia Fortich-Poblete
I’ve always loved bread. I eat bread as is or paired with my favorites: cheese/cream cheese spreads, peanut butter, pesto sauce, and even olive oil with garlic salt & black pepper. For me, bread is life because it can take away hunger – and it’s affordable. As long as I can eat some bread – even just a few bites – I’ll be all right throughout the day, no matter how busy my schedule may be.
So, when I got an invitation to the inauguration of the first Gardenia Bakeries plant in Mindanao, I was overjoyed! Bread, bread, and more bread! I couldn’t believe that a Gardenia plant was opening in Tagoloan, which is more or less only an hour away from where I live. Gardenia breads will finally be available every day (and freshly baked at that) in Cagayan de Oro!
The Mindanao Plant Inauguration
Gardenia, probably the country’s most popular and trusted brand in breads, officially opened and inaugurated its most advanced, fully automated bread manufacturing plant in Mindanao last Thursday, March 07. Located in the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, the 2.5-hectare world-class facility is expected to produce around 130,000 loaves a day.
At the inauguration, we were introduced to Mr. Jun Umali, Gardenia president. He shared the excitement and enthusiasm of all the guests. “We are now bringing Gardenia breads closer to our consumers with the opening of our newest plant. With our current distribution capabilities, Gardenia is available in Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Surigao and Zamboanga del Norte, Butuan, and Kidapawan; but we will intensify our market penetration and saturation to widen our network, and eventually, reach every corner of Mindanao,” he said.
He also emphasized the fact that delicious, freshly baked Gardenia breads will now be available daily for the Mindanao market.
One other thing I’m really excited about is the kind of quality and technology that comes with the Gardenia Mindanao plant. “This completely new breadline features robotics and the latest innovations in modern baking. All major equipment are sourced from the best and reliable bakery equipment suppliers in Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Malaysia, and Japan,” Umali shared. I actually saw how robotics technology is used in the plant as we were given a tour of the facility after the inauguration.
In addition to state-of-the-art technology, the Gardenia Mindanao plant also uses premium grade ingredients such as flour made from US wheat and milk from Australia and the United States.
Choosing a location that’s adjacent to Cagayan de Oro is part of Gardenia’s long-term plans. The PhP1 billion investment will serve not only the needs of the Mindanao commercial operations but the Cebu plant or Visayas market as well. Additionally, Umali said, “We can also dispatch breads easily to other areas when the need arrives, especially in the event of major calamities or natural disasters in those areas.”
The availability and accessibility of ingredients also plays a major role as the plant is located just an hour or so away from the ports of Cagayan de Oro.
Taking Breadmaking to the Next Level
Like every bread lover, I am happy that Gardenia chose to invest here in Mindanao. This means we don’t need to travel to Manila just to buy high quality fresh breads. We don’t need to panic when supermarkets run out of stock. “With Gardenia in Mindanao, world-class quality bread products that will satisfy your appetites, as well as feed your hearts, will be at your fingertips. Our products will come to you fresh, delicious, and healthy as we take Gardenia and breadmaking to the next level,” Umali concluded.
The Gardenia Mindanao plant produces a wide variety of products like white breads, health bread selections, flavored loaf offerings, and buns or pandesal (my favorite!). Neubake, Gardenia’s affordable loaf bread, is also available at the plant. Likewise, consumers can visit the plant and purchase their favorite Gardenia products at discounted prices.
The PHIVIDEC plant’s daily produce of 130,000 loaves and buns will be distributed all over the region using an expanded fleet of trucks.
Welcome to Mindanao, Gardenia!
(With some inputs and information taken from the official Gardenia press release. Some photos provided by Gardenia.)