For millions of Filipinos living or working all across the globe, a familiar flavor or a well-loved taste can instantly bring back fond memories and rekindle that warm, fuzzy feeling of comfort.
While most Filipino dishes can be recreated in any kitchen, some Pinoy staples require a bit more effort to find.
This is where Rebisco comes in.
The snack food giant has been doubling down on its international business, ‘invading’ key markets armed with delightful sweets and treats.
“Wherever there are Filipinos, we have a market for Rebisco products because our snacks represent a piece of home,” Rebisco President Jonathan C. Ng said. “At the same time, the shared love for food is a universal language that transcends boundaries, languages and cultures. While we bring our diverse portfolio of products to a wider market, we also want to put the Philippines on the global map as a maker of world-class snacks.”
Spreading the love for Filipino-made snacks
Rebisco has been in the export business since early 2000, with key markets including China, U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Myanmar. Among their top export brands are local favorites like Ding Dong, Hansel, Fudgee Barr, Rebisco Sandwich, Doowee Donut, Cupp Keyk and Choco Mucho.
According to Rebisco International Business Group Head Jonnel Mangubat, main consumers vary per export market. “For countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Canada, USA, and Taiwan the main consumers are our overseas Filipinos as these countries are top OFW and Filipino migrant destinations,” he said. “As for China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Myanmar, we primarily cater to the mainstream aka local consumers. Thus, our products could be found in their supermarkets and wholesalers where local consumers go to.”
Winning over local snack lovers
Marketing strategy varies, depending on the market. “We localize our portfolio and promotions based on the unique consumer needs per country,” Mangubat explained. “While some distributors directly approach us due to our company’s popularity, we mainly enter new markets through participation in international trade missions and food exhibits. As soon as we see market potential and product acceptance, as indicated primarily by consistent orders, we follow through with significant investment in sales and marketing initiatives in order to maximize the business potential.”
Manufacturing is a key success factor for Rebisco’s international business. In 2015, the legacy snack maker opened its Vietnam manufacturing facility, complete with a sales and marketing force. Mangubat added, “Vietnam’s strategic location in the region makes it an ideal manufacturing hub for businesses that want to penetrate the ASEAN markets. Its free trade agreements also make the country more attractive to investors because of the fewer tariffs and restrictions.”
The Vietnam plant produces cakes, biscuits, wafer and cream paste, for domestic and top export markets like China and Myanmar. Rebisco Vietnam has also recently begun export shipments to Hong Kong and Singapore. Mangubat noted that the total operations in Vietnam have steadily doubled its sales in the past five years, with the top-selling brands including Doowee, Krim Stix and Rebisco Extreme.
More reasons to celebrate
As Rebisco celebrates its 55th anniversary this year, the homegrown manufacturer of snack time favorites sees a bright future ahead for its international business.
Ng noted, “We’re optimistic about the sustained growth of our international operations. We continue to evolve with the changing needs of the market—both locally and globally. Good food never goes out of style. Regardless of where you’re from, there’s always a good reason to sit down and enjoy a snack.”