Monday, August 29, 2016

Clara’s Food Products by Maria Sigrid Dugeno-Lo

The most sought-after maker of Clara’s Goat’s Milk Barquillos

A lot of people are stuck in the daily grind of employment because that had been instilled to most of the middle class. Study hard and get a good job, we were told. But after her early forced retirement from the defunct company Nivico following the People Power Revolution, Cecilia Plotena didn’t want to end up jobless and without a source of income. 

Married and with three kids, Cecilia turned to making fresh breads because of her interest in baking. After all, her mother Clara influenced her so much. With P3000 in 1987 as start-up capital and used drums heated with firewood as her improvised oven, Cecilia made different kinds of breads from two sacks of flour daily. 

But it seems that Cecilia and fresh breads were a mismatch as a business. Though she made good breads, she said that the profit margin was not that big and the returns as well as the collectibles were unbearable. She thought of a way to maximize her profit with the work that her family puts in. So after two years, she diverted her efforts in making specialty products.

Cecilia also said that she is fortunate to have found a baker who was good at making different baked products so they were able to produce barquillos, banadas, and the like. Instead of peddling, they also started supplying their goods on consignment in groceries and supermarkets. That resulted in an overwhelming increase in profits because pasalubong products do not require a lot of flour to make, have a longer shelf life so they can be sold in big stores, and they can be pricier because they have more premium.

Eventually, Cecilia joined the Association of Negros Producers. She is thankful to the association because not only was she able to display her products at the showroom and get more exposure and sales, she is motivated to innovate because of the Bulawan Awards. She said that although she didn’t win an award, she is still fortunate because one of the products that she entered, which was the Goat’s Milk Barquillos, is now her signature best-selling product. It is sought-after product that is being sold in premier establishments like Virgie’s Pasalubong, Pendy’s. andRowenas’s in Tagaytay.

Producer/Member - Cecilia Plotena (5th from left)
One of the reasons behind Clara’s Food Products is Cecilia’s willingness to innovate. She was also the first one to come up with the flavoured barquillos. But while it was a hit and was also emulated, she stopped production because she didn’t feel comfortable about adding food colors to her products. She wanted to make them as natural as possible.

At present, Clara’s Food Products is enjoying stable business. She does not really have plans for expansion, as she is already happy with her achievements and she is not getting younger. Her son Chris Noel is now helping her out with logistics.  Cecilia is now happy and content as her goals have already been achieved.

31st Negros Trade Fair "One Sweet Spot"
September 14-16, 2016, 
Glorietta Mall, Makati

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Author & Editor

The Negros Trade Fair is the longest running provincial trade fair in the Philippines held annually in Metro Manila since 1985.

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