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Super Tuyo readies foray into exports

Gilberto Tongo Jr

MANILA, Philippines - An heir to his father’s dried herring (tuyo) recipe has found gold in the popular Filipino breakfast staple.
Gilberto Tongo Jr., who introduced Super Tuyo to the local market in 2012, is planning to venture into his first concept store this year. The store will be Tongo’s maiden brick and mortar shop that will feature all of Super Tuyo’s various offerings.

With the business experiencing sustained strong demand locally in the past four years, Super Tuyo is also eyeing to brave the export market in the next few years.

From an average of 15 to 20 orders a month during its initial operations, Super Tuyo is now receiving an average of 15 orders a week, both for individual orders and bulk order for resellers.

“The business is still developing even though we are already four years in the market. From direct deliveries and meet-ups during our initial years, we now have three online stores, we also resell through pasalubong stores and individual resellers, and can now ship nationwide,” Tongo said.

“We are currently improving our production to meet the standard of the Food and Drug Administration as we plan to venture into concept stores this year,” he added.

Super Tuyo’s recipe was a brainchild of Tongo’s father, who in the late 1990s started deboning tuyo and combined it with a signature chili garlic sauce. The product was originally shipped to the family’s Filipino relatives in Dubai where frying tuyo is strictly prohibited because of its unusual smell.

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With the recipe becoming a hit, Tongo shelled out an initial capital of P20,000 in 2012 and placed the product in a bottle jar and expanded it to three variants that include spicy, sweet and spicy, and original.

“I saw an opportunity within our family. Prior to Super Tuyo, my father was a former seaman rank cook for nearly three decades and my mother is a kitchen supervisor of a prominent catering company. With all of these skills and talent, I found a business opportunity, I suggested in 2010 to establish a family catering business and from our catering business, we had the opportunity to introduce different recipes to various functions and one of these is the Super Tuyo recipe we all know today,” Tongo said.

According to Tongo, Super Tuyo’s main ingredient is sourced directly from Roxas City, dubbed as the seafood capital of the Philippines.

“Taste is the main weapon of Super Tuyo. We consider our product as one of the best tasting tuyo brands in the market. Our boneless tuyo mixed with special signature sauce and our wide array of choices of flavors, types, and packaging makes our product very competitive. Our price is among the reasonable prices in the market given the quality of the product,” he said.

Tongo admits there is a growing competition in local market  for the product it offers.

“Three years ago, there are only few competitors in this type of business offering  limited products. When we were starting, there were only three flavors of bottled tuyo in the market, namely spicy, mild spicy and regular(plain). After we introduced sweet and spicy, I have seen similar products of the same variant. Even after our concept on tuyo in pouch, competitors also followed suit,” he said.

The entrepreneur, however, is optimistic Super Tuyo will be able to maintain and expand its position in the local market in the coming years given the quality and unique taste of its offerings.

“People always ask us why it is called Super Tuyo. Our only dare is for them to try Super Tuyo, only by then they will get the answer. Taste is super,” Tongo said.

Aside from its three official online stores, Super Tuyo products are currently available through individual resellers and pasalubong stores in Metro Manila and provinces such as Baguio, Isabela, and Pampanga.

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