Manila, Philippines – Fruitas Holdings, Inc. (“Fruitas”) President and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Lester Yu remarked: “Standing with all Filipinos, we hope and pray that our country is able to avoid the resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak that is now gravely affecting some of our regional neighbors. We have an obligation to keep our employees safely working so they can provide for their families. We are committed to continue to bring our products to our customers in the safest and most convenient way possible.”
Fruitas is confident that its business will keep up its 2021 recovery momentum even as new protocols may emerge because of the potential spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 virus. This confidence is rooted in the initiatives implemented since the pandemic and subsequent community quarantines hit the country last year.
Mr. Yu said: “The pandemic forced us out of our comfort zone. But we have quickly regrouped. We are continuing to transform Fruitas by relying on our strengths of being nimble, of building brands, and by maximizing the efficiency of our resources and facilities.”
Foremost of these initiatives is the rollout of its community store network to get closer to high-density residential communities and widen its distribution channels. The number of operating Fruitas community stores currently stands at 74 and is on track to reach 100 by end of the year. Fruitas recognizes that many of its mall-based locations will take time to fully recover. Fruitas will not sit idly by and wait for that to happen.
These community stores are also instrumental in serving as delivery hubs as Fruitas intensifies its efforts to build its online presence, not only through its CocoDelivery service and own website, but also through its major delivery and online partners.
The latest recently opened community stores includes the first Soy & Bean store in the Visayas region, located in One Stop Lagtang, Talisay City, Cebu in addition to the community stores in Cebu City and Lapu Lapu City. This comes as Fruitas is establishing a processing line to manufacture products in Cebu. The commissary set-up is a precursor for an aggressive expansion of community stores and e-commerce hubs in the Visayas. This will complement the existing production facilities in the Metro Manila.
Community stores that were recently opened in the Greater Metro Manila area include those along Sumulong Highway in Antipolo City and Aguirre Avenue in Parañaque City.
Since the beginning of 2020, Fruitas has widened its product suite to include a complete soy line, a dairy line including ice cream, and bread products through its recent acquisition of Balai Pandesal bakery. The company has partnered with other food and beverage players to also carry their products, such as Bukidnon Milk Company milk and yogurt, and Chef Tony’s popcorn, among others.
Fruitas is taking advantage of its own in-house manufacturing capabilities to offer different packaging to allow customers to consume more Fruitas products at home. These include offering frozen Jamaican Patties and SHOU dimsum products, and Sabroso Lechon ready-to-heat viands. Fruitas continues to assess further enhancements of its product line, including making products more shelf-stable to allow Fruitas to utilize more distribution points.
“We strongly believe our business is now stronger and more capable to withstand the challenges brought about potential new lockdowns and other health safety practices,” said Mr. Yu.