MANILA, Philippines - Gardenia Bakeries Philippines Inc. is venturing into the unpackaged segment of the bread industry as it makes its foray into artisanal and community bakeries.
Gardenia president Simplicio Umali Jr. said the company is investing P300 million to support the new venture which is seen to widen its market reach and also contribute to the growing Philippine bread industry.
Big Smile Bread Station will be Gardenia’s answer to the thousands of community bakeries across the country while Bakers Maison will serve as counterparts for burgeoning medium to high-end bakery chains.
“With the entry of Big Smile and Bakers Maison stores, consumers will now have more and better choices for their classic bread favorites and artisanal breads,” Umali said.
Bienvenido Topacio, Gardenia business development manager, said the company is eyeing to open at least 1,000 stores in Luzon and 500 more outlets in Visayas over the next few years.
At present, Topacio said Big Smile has opened three branches in Pasig, Muntinlupa, and Cabuyao.
As a neighborhood bakery chain, he said Big Smile would offer classic Filipino bread favorites such as pandesal, pan de coco, and kababayan.
Bakers Maison, meanwhile, will offer French-style breads and pastries targeting the more well-off segment of the market.
Gardenia business development manager James Cariaga said the company is initially eyeing to open 100 Bakers Maison stores in Metro Manila within the coming years.
After that, Carriaga said the firm would explore expansion opportunities in Visayas and Mindanao where it intends to add another 100 outlets.
Carriaga said Bakers Maison would open its first store in SM North by November while another branch is also being planned for opening in a separate location before the year ends.
“As we open 1,500 bread stations nationwide and 100 Baker Maison stores, we are also generating thousands of job opportunities for all,” Umali said.
Umali said Gardenia would serve only as the master franchisor for both brands and it will not be investing for the store expansion.
He said the P300 million investment for the venture would be used for logistics purposes and to build a commissary catering specifically to the new set of products it will offer.
According to Umali, the packaged bread segment of the local market in which Gardenia has been a strong market leader for years is valued at P8 billion at present. This category is composed of individually packed, branded breads sold at supermarkets and groceries.
Meanwhile, the unpackaged segment which includes artisanal breads and pastries sold in specialty bakeries has a market value reaching P10.2 billion.
“During the past years, we saw how the bread industry grew and how Filipinos’ baked goods consumption evolved. The improvement in the current value growth of unpackaged bread segment was fuelled by the proliferation and rapid expansion of artisanal bakery chains and community bakeries,” he said.