Amazing Food Corp. achieves success by going organic.

Dreaming better

Nestled 72 kilometers south of Manila, the quaint farm in Sta. Maria, Laguna, holds more than just childhood memories for Jessica R Gutierrez, CEO of Amazing Foods Corp.

It’s where her passion for nature and the dream to transform the crops into authentic healthy food preserves and farming into a lucrative venture for her family first took root.

“My siblings and I were always in awe of the bountiful harvests at our grandparents’ farm. When the yields suddenly stopped, it was a disturbance,” Jessica reminisces.

The dwindling returns, resulting from tenant farmers abandoning agriculture, seeded a promise among the siblings to restore the farm’s former glory.

Sta. Maria’s hidden potential

Sta. Maria, despite its poverty and remoteness, is a vital rice-producing region. Jessica’s vision extended beyond the immediate, seeing potential in the 13 hectares of mountainous land dotted with coconut and fruit-bearing trees.

“We envisioned a sustainable farming method that would respect and preserve our environment,” Jessica states.

This vision led the siblings to explore the virgin coconut oil (VCO) market, inspired by government training sessions that revealed the coconut’s vast untapped potential.

Going international with support from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

Introduced in 2005, Sta. Maria VCO struggled to gain initial local traction.

“The first three years challenged our resolve as the local market was slow to embrace coconut oil as a dietary staple,” Jessica admits.

However, perseverance paid off when online platforms like Alibaba opened international doors.

 “Our breakthrough came with our first overseas client from Japan, swiftly followed by Sweden and Croatia,” she recalls, highlighting the importance of their organic certification in securing these pivotal deals.

Aside from their main product brand, Sta. Maria, Amazing Foods also introduced L’amor as another successful brand, especially for the Asian markets.

The Philippine government’s DTI has always stood by them in their export journey.  Enabling the company’s participation in international trade fairs has been instrumental in exporting abroad, including the EU.

Amazing Foods Corp. has since expanded their product lines from VCO food supplements to other coconut by-products including healthy soaps, coco ginger tea, jams, chips from rootcrops and fruits and massage oils.  

Utilizing the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+)

They were able to tap into the EU GSP+ when it started to apply in 2014. The GSP+ scheme enables Philippines businesses to export tariff-free to countries in the EU.

Jessica notes that the GSP+ was a big assistance to their EU clients, providing them with increased opportunities to import from a partner country like the Philippines.

With about a fourth of their total annual exports to the EU region, Amazing Foods Corp. is also negotiating with a Poland-based buyer to ship coconut sugar and coco jam exports.

Support from ARISE Plus Philippines

Amazing Foods Corp. has also benefitted from the ARISE Plus Philippines, a project that trains and mentors Philippine micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to further develop their global export capabilities.

She shares that being part of the project further strengthened the company in all aspects of operations that they never imagined possible.

“The comprehensive training we received far exceeded our expectations. From marketing principles to pricing and even handling queries from prospective buyers were taught and shared by our Quality Champion and the mentors we got through the project,” adds Jessica.

Jessica says that they now pay close attention to the documentation and certifications, and logistical requirements to further expand and upgrade their product offering to the global market.

“Our recent participation in the ANUGA Trade Fair in Germany opened a lot of possibilities for us,” notes Jessica. “And this is all thanks to the ARISE project.”  

A mission of health and sustainability

Amazing Foods Corp has since flourished into a beacon of social entrepreneurship, emphasizing health, well-being, and sustainable practices. The company continues to thrive on a year-round supply of fresh coconut from over 150 hectares of organic plantation.

Jessica and her team are dedicated to producing the highest quality VCO, employing a no-heat, cold-pressed method that preserves vital nutrients and enzymes, enhancing the oil’s health benefits and natural preservation qualities.

“We adhere to strict organic farming practices, ensuring our products are free from synthetic inputs,” Jessica emphasizes.

This dedication extends to its packaging choices, with the company opting for glass over plastic to avoid chemical leaching and support environmental sustainability.

Pioneering a sustainable future

The business is proof of the family’s commitment to innovation, quality, and sustainability. Their journey from childhood vows to a global enterprise underscores the transformative power of vision, perseverance, and respect for nature.

“We are not just producing coconut oil; we are nurturing a culture of reverence for the environment and pioneering a sustainable future for the next generations,” Jessica concludes, showcasing the enduring legacy in revolutionizing the raw coconut oil industry from the heart of Sta. Maria, Laguna.

The ARISE Plus Philippines project is enabling Philippine exporters to take advantage of European Union (EU) market access and the trade privileges granted under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP+). It supports the overall EU-Philippines trade relationship and trade-related policies. 

ARISE Plus Philippines is a project of the Government of the Philippines, with the Department of Trade and Industry as lead partner together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Customs, the Department of Science and Technology, as well as the private sector. It is funded by the EU with the International Trade Centre (ITC) as the technical agency for the project. ♦

Date of release: 25 April 2024