MANGALDAN, Pangasinan – The calamansi juice concentrate business of Up Lokal Fruit Juice Manufacturing, a micro enterprise based in this town, has been augmenting the financial needs of a family here as well as the farmers in San Fabian town.
Gwen Ferrer, one of the company owners, said together with her husband Hubert, they started their business in 2019 with the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
They underwent training on good manufacturing practices, labeling, and packaging, among other modules. They were also one of the beneficiaries of the Kapatid Mentor ME program of the DTI, where they received first-hand advice from successful entrepreneurs.
Gwen was in the events coordinating industry before she became full-time in handling their business.
“We have many reasons why we came up with this business. One of which is to promote the calamansi products in the plantations in our hometown in San Fabian and as a mom, I wanted to serve my kids with healthy beverages, and we thought that this is also a sustainable business and environment-friendly,” she said.
She added they are using glass bottles as the container of their juices as part of their advocacy.
Ferrer said their business also experienced setbacks due to the lockdowns caused by the ongoing pandemic.
“We were not able to continue with our products due to the difficulty of acquiring the raw materials but our business is bouncing back and it actually provided for the daily needs of our family,” she said.
She added the DTI provided the platform for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), such as trade fairs where they could promote and sell their products.
“We used to sell 24 bottles daily but now somehow, it has doubled or tripled. However, sales of our juice concentrate are still unpredictable,” Ferrer said.
She said the demand for their product as a good source of vitamin C increased as the quarantine protocols ease.
“We have clients from Manila and Pampanga and in other areas. Mostly they sell our products in the café,” she added.
Ferrer sells calamansi juice concentrate alongside their takoyaki business.
“Our product is all-natural, we do not use preservatives or chemicals to prolong its shelf-life,” she said.
The calamansi concentrate can also be used as a sauce (salsa) for marinating and as an ingredient.
The company can be reached through its Facebook page. (PNA)