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Business

Max’s Group triples food production capacity

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Listed Max’s Group Inc. (MGI) said its multi-capacity commissary in Cavite has allowed the company to triple its monthly food production capacity, which includes not only food for its stores, but also ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products.

MGI Supply Chain Management director Robeson Mateo said the company’s year-old No Bia Food Manufacturing and Distribution Center in Carmona, Cavite has a production capacity of 2,000 metric tons (MT) per month.

“The objective of this facility was to support the growth of our brands because in 2018, 2019, prior to this pandemic, there was strong demand for our branches, so we wanted to expand further the reach of our brands, not only in Luzon, but also in Visayas and Mindanao,” Mateo said.

However, when the pandemic struck in March 2020, the company decided to incorporate the changes needed to be able to respond to the pandemic.

“The pandemic also allowed us to pivot our business model from being not just operators of restaurants, but also manufacturers and distributors of ready to eat, ready to cook, ready to use products available for the market not only in our restaurants, but also from other aggregators,” Mateo said.

“We pivoted the design of this facility to include and incorporate those types of products. So from just being a commissary, this is actually a full-blown manufacturing and distribution facility,” he said.

Currently, the 20,000-square-meter facility has two production lines, particularly meat and sauce, and the bakery line.

Under the meat and sauce line, which also includes ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat/heat products, the company manufactures marinated chicken, pork, beef and fish; cooked meat products and cured meats.

It also manufactures sauces for pasta, steak, sandwiches and dressings to be used for its stores.

The facility’s bakery line manufactures cakes, bread and pastry derivatives and pizza crust, among others.

In line with the expansion of its business model, MGI stressed new menu items from its brands are now present under the newly launched Max’s Group Kitchen imprint in over 300 retail partner stores; including both the physical and digital (phygital) channels of notable players such as SM Markets, Robinsons Group, WalterMart, Shell Select, AllDay Supermarket, Puregold, Gaisano Market, Lazada, Shopee, MetroMart and GrabMart.

“More than just serving customers at our restaurants, we have now expanded our product lines to include restaurant-quality ready-to-cook meals and ready-to-eat products that are easily accessible through a phygital commerce network that has opened new doors for us. Every day, we are fueled by innovation and our new commissary plays an integral role in helping us realize our vision as an operator, manufacturer, and distributor, and merchant,” MGI president Ariel Fermin said.

“Additionally, our comprehensive food line capabilities have helped us secure contracts to supply the different baking goods, meats, and sauces of other known local brands. Now, more than ever, we’ve seen the importance and positive impact that being part of an ecosystem can do and we are proud that we’ve been able to work together with our peers from the food industry as they look to expand as well. We advocate for others to follow suit if they are serious about growing and evolving their business,” he said.

With the expansion of the company’s product lines to include ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products, Mateo said the company is eyeing to focus on the local first when asked if the company is looking to export these new products to overseas markets.

“We want to saturate the local market. We want to be known as a manufacturer because we’re known as a restaurant operator,” Mateo said in Filipino.

Apart from allowing the company to manufacture new product lines, MGI stressed that the design of the No Bia Food Manufacturing and Distribution Center was built for quality as it is in line with the global standards established by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), and the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).

It said the commissary has also been designed to meet the highest level of safety standards and specialized certifications such as GMP Certified (Good Manufacturing Practice), HACCP (Hazard-Analysis-Critical-Control-Point), ISO Food Safety Management Safety, FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification) – even Halal certification on its bakeshop line.

MGI said the company also took the sustainability factor into account when designing the new commissary, as the building facade and walls were made using eco bricks that are a mixture of composite materials and various kinds of repurposed plastics.

In addition, the facility also operates on wastewater treatment technology that ensures process water is treated and made safe before disposal to the municipal sewage. It also reuses rain water for various purposes, LED lighting for energy conservation, and a Variable Frequency Drive for its refrigeration system to help reduce power consumption.

“Our investments in completing our new commissary and the creation of the Max’s Group Kitchen label certainly answer our immediate needs today. Simultaneously, they also offer a clear path for our renewed future. Continuing to support the growth of our world-class infrastructure and expand our brand footprint are necessary steps to remain relevant for years to come,” MGI chief executive officer Robert Trota said.

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