Southern Luzon has been a vast source of resources for Healthy Tropics products. Its supply of malunggay comes from San Antonio, Quezon, while it maintains its own guyabano farm in Narra, Palawan. Aside from ensuring that their items only come from natural ingredients, these farms have also allowed the brand to offer a source of livelihood to communities in those areas.
“When you have a farm, you create job opportunities. Whether you’re buying from the farmer or establishing your farm, it generates employment,” says Mike Atayde, Orich Food and Beverages CEO and Head of Product Development.
When it started, Orich and its brands employed only 10 people. Their company then was able to give livelihood to as many as 80 people including agronomist Bob Almorfe. “Sa trabaho ko, nagkaroon ako ng source of income at security of tenure. Nakakatulung din kami sa community. Aside from the farmers, we also tap the wives of the farmers to help us in the picking of fruits and the gathering of the leaves,” Bob shares.
As the farm’s agronomist, he says it is his duty to manage the estate, study which crops could be planted there, and make sure that they retain the land’s fertility. He says that it is very important for them to ensure that their practices contribute to taking care of the environment, and not lead to its decay.
“Dahil sa pagtatanim namin, nakakatulong kaming malinis ang hangin, mabawasan ang runoff sa lupa at mapigilan ang landslides,” Bob says.
This concern for the environment has inspired Healthy Tropics to diversify its products. It intercropped its malunggay and guyabano with camote and banana. After introducing their healthy teas and juices, they started producing a line of healthy chips in 2010: banana chips, sweet potato chips that come in different flavors, and their own take on the classic shing-a-ling laced with malunggay. From the fruit peelings and other natural ingredients, they were then inspired to come up with a line of personal wellness products such as hand sanitizers, soaps, body butter, insect repellants and essential oils.
Healthy Tropics snacks and juices and The Tropical Shop personal wellness products are available in Kultura stores located inside the SM Malls. You may also order Healthy Tropics and other uniquely Filipino products online at www.kulturafilipino.com. When you support local snacks from Healthy Tropics, you also support their farm workers from Quezon and Palawan.
For more than 60 years, SM, and its affiliate brands like Kultura, has been home to thousands of MSMEs. From those years of partnership, SM and MSMEs once again stand together to build back stronger.
[Photos from Healthy Tropics]