Shemberg expands plants in Mandaue and Carmen
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - February 27, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Philippines’ largest seaweed processor, Shemberg Marketing Corporation (Shemberg), has expanded and upgraded its plants in Mandaue City and Carmen, Cebu anticipating the brisk demand in the world market.

In an interview with Shemberg chief executive officer (CEO) Pierre Collin Dakay, he said that while competition with other seaweed processing countries like China, and Indonesia continues to pose challenges among Filipino processors, the Philippines’ brand has sustained its undisputed edge.

“There is always a demand for carrageenan especially in the food applications. Now, we are upgrading our plants in Mandaue and Carmen because of good demand [prospects], and also to comply with updated international food safety requirements and the United States’ modernization Act,” said Dakay.

Carrageenan is a processed seaweed known to have a valuable commercial ingredient because of its advantageous properties. When used as an ingredient in beverages, carrageenan preserves texture, structure and stability, enabling the export of countless shelf-stable beverage products. It is particularly suitable for shelf-stable dairy beverages and protein-enriched drinks.

Specifically, carrageenan has continued to be used in dairy-based and enriched beverages, mainly in chocolate milk and chocolate milk applications such as syrups and powdered mix.

Now that the market is much more health-conscious, it gives added boost to carrageenan market, as it is known have good anti-oxidant properties. This has also attracted not only the food market, pet food, but recently the beauty and wellness applications.

In the last five years, Shemberg’s growth averages at 1.5 to two percent per year.

Despite good market prospects, the Philippines raw seaweed supply is dwindling compared to other seaweed producing countries like Indonesia, because of farmers’ lack of capital to expand and the unpredictable weather cycle.

The seaweed industry in the Philippines, which primarily provides the food-grade specie of seaweed grown in the Philippine shores, is providing livelihood to over 100 thousand families across the country.

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