One of the chocolate firms that is shaping Davao to become the ‘Cacao Capital of the Philippines’ is launching their new line of ‘fruity and sustainable’ couverture chocolates at the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines on May 19-21 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila and Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC).
“For this year’s IFEX, we’re developing products using local fruits to help promote sustainability and inclusive growth in our area,” said Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation’s sales and marketing head Rex Victor Puentespina. “Ayun din naman ang campaign ng government, to help development in the countryside so we want to use local products in Davao.”
Aside from their new product line, the Davao-based company will also offer neatly packaged dark chocolates ranging from varying rate of cacao concentration—100% Unsweetened, Malagos 85% Dark Chocolate, Malagos 65% and Malagos 72%. They will also sell roasted cacao nibs and dried fermented cacao beans, as well as quality cacao seedlings, seeds, scions.
Single-origin, ‘tree-to-bar’ chocolate
Malagos Chocolate takes pride on their single-origin chocolate production or what they call the “tree to bar” process, which involves the planting, harvesting, fermenting, solar drying, roasting, and processing of the cacao beans into fine-flavored chocolates.
“Our chocolate is made from tree-to-bar. We grow the trees ourselves, we cultivate them, we take care of them, and process it to finished product – process it for fine flavored chocolates,” Puentespina said. “It sets us apart is that we have full control of our raw materials so we can meticulously watch over the whole process unlike just buying the beans from somebody else.”
Due to the quality of its product, Malagos Chocolate is currently putting Davao on the cacao world map. As of 2016, Davao is the source of 80% supply of cacao in the Philippines.
Despite its recent commercial launch in 2013, the Davao-based company has already bagged several prestigious international and local awards. On the same year, they were given the title ‘Best Product’ in the Philippines during the ASEAN Food Conference 2013.
They also won in the prestigious Academy of Chocolate Awards held in London, United Kingdom for two consecutive years – a bronze in 2015 and a silver in 2016.
The company’s Malagos 100% Pure Unsweetened Chocolate was awarded the First Runner Up for Best Product for Food Ingredients Category in 2015 Katha Awards Food.
Recently, they earned a two-star accolade (with 3-star being the highest) at the 2016 Great Taste Competition of the UK’s Guild of Fine Food, which is considered the ‘Oscars’ of the food world.
“What makes us exceptional is our new unique flavor profile. We do not intend to follow imported chocolates because we believe that we have a unique product. Our chocolates are fruity because of the influence of the environment we’re at in Malagos,” he said.
With quality and food safety as top priority, Malagos Chocolate has already obtained certifications from the Philippine Bureau of Plant and Industry, National Seeds Council, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) under the Philippine Food and Drugs Administration, United States Food & Drugs Administration (USFDA), and HALAL under the Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines, Inc (IDCP).
Due to their international recognition, Malagos Chocolate is now exporting to various countries, such as Thailand, Singapore, US. Currently, Japan is their top export destination.
Puentespina shared that they met their buyers from Japan at IFEX Philippines and now they are exporting an average of 1,000 kilos of cacao-based products to Japan per month.
“Our customers now in Japan, we met them at IFEX 2015. That goes to show that IFEX is a very effective marketing tool for exporters to meet serious and quality buyers,” he said. “The event also gives us an opportunity to get feedback from the export market. Chocolate is food so you let people try it to get a very good feedback on the product we’re making.”
Puentespina said that they work with 60 to 80 farmers in the area, depending on the season, giving the local farmers livelihood. Malagos Chocolate’s continuous growth truly gives great economic impact in Davao. For every milestone they achieve, they give credit to Davao cacao farmers.
“Our company Malagos Agri-ventures corporation is part of a family-owned grouped of businesses that have always worked with nature and local farmers. Today, we produce chocolate that is proudly Philippine-made. A single-origin fine flavor chocolate that is truly tree-to-bar,” he said.