Responsible retail: Improving the Filipino's quality of life, one sale at a time
- Carlo Mendoza / General Manager, Fonterra Brands Philippines () - August 10, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - For leading businesses worldwide, modern business is no longer just about simply chasing a sale and meeting sales targets in order to succeed. It is also about being good corporate citizens. At Fonterra Brands Philippines, owner of the well-known brands Anmum, Anchor and Anlene, we have a very strong domestic commitment to be good corporate citizens in the Philippines. One such commitment is best illustrated through an activity I personally like to call ‘responsible retail’.

Responsible retail is perhaps best described as using the power of consumer goods to make a positive difference. It is a concept that explores and celebrates a product from production to distribution, while providing lessons and advice to both consumers and non-consumers along the way.

For Fonterra, this all starts in the farms of New Zealand where Fonterra produces high-quality dairy products, thanks to the country’s naturally clean, green pastures. Every year, Fonterra collects around 14 billion liters of milk from our suppliers. These suppliers have over four million cows grazing freely on the lush pastures and clean drinking water of New Zealand’s pastoral-based farms. This free range approach not only helps herds to remain free of major diseases, but also enables the environmental sustainability of the production model.

But what does this mean to the Filipino consumer? And how does this help drive the responsible retail concept? Thanks to New Zealand’s healthy cows, Fonterra has been offering high-quality branded dairy products and dairy ingredients manufactured to specifically improve the quality of life and nutritional consumption of the Filipino consumer since the 1980s.

We are one of the dairy companies in Asia that invest a significant proportion of our sales revenue back into research to clinically prove to legislators, trade partners, and consumers that our products truly deliver.

We start from pregnancy with Anmum, a brand offering dairy products to meet the nutritional needs of expectant mothers.  Together with leading international academics and scientists, the Anmum team works hard on rigorous research to help us make constant improvements to our products formulated to bring health benefits through essential nutrients such as folate, essential fatty acids (EFA) and iron. All of these are scientifically proven to play significant roles in brain development during the prenatal stage.

The Anmum team also works to provide extensive information on maternal and pediatric health to doctors and consumers alike, the value of which was proven to me during a recent trip to Cebu where I met a leading health care professional who told me that the Anmum materials and information we provide are ‘invaluable’.

As baby consumers grow up to become children, they may also experience our Anchor brand – a range specifically prepared for children and clinically proven to significantly reduce the incidence of common childhood sickness (a significant health issue in the Philippines). This was made possible by a ‘nutrient bundle’ we invested in and worked on extensively, together with expert research partners worldwide.

Here in the Philippines we also support Anchor customers with free nutrition counseling programme. Designed to reach several hundred thousand Filipinos each year, the Anchor programme utilizes technology beyond the reach of a typical mother to provide insights on the children’s nutritional health, muscles, bones and fat make up. Based on this, the mother is given a one-on-one consultation to discuss the dietary and activity changes that she can make in her family’s diet to help her children reach full health potential.

For adults, our Anlene brand is a product clinically proven to maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis — one of the major health issues facing Filipino adults today. Our active bone scanning programme has so far scanned the bones of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos each year, free of charge.

Following their scans, participants sit down with health care professionals to discuss the health of their bones based on analysis of the bone scan results. This enables consumers to understand not only if they are at risk of osteoporosis, but also to get information on the dietary and activity changes they need to make for an active and healthy life.

These examples show that at Fonterra Brands Philippines, we recognize that our responsibility to our customers goes way beyond simply selling our products. By investing in scientific research to provide nutritional insights, we are able to gift information and knowledge to Filipinos that we believe can help them make positive changes in their own lives as well as for those they love.

What’s more, these programs also add an enormous amount of value to our retail partners who are also looking to provide their shoppers with a much more valuable experience in their stores.

When I returned to the Philippines to work for the company some 7 years ago, I did so because I wanted to work for an organization where my contribution would be about more than simply meeting sales figures. I know I am not alone in this, and our approach to responsible retail has helped us attract and maintain a happy and positive workforce that thrives on making a real difference in their careers.

The Fonterra Brands Philippines’ approach to responsible retail sincerely believes that we can make a real difference in the Filipino people’s quality of life.

However, responsible retail does not have to be an activity exclusive to Fonterra. My vision involves a host of companies also using responsible retail based on their own brand presence, strengths and distribution channels. Together, I strongly believe we can make a positive impact in our country. Let us see what we can achieve for the Philippines — one sale at a time.

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