January to March 2006

Chocolate Hills and Peanut Kisses

Bohol easily tops the list of many leisure and environment enthusiasts. Its rich inventory of terrestrial and marine flora and fauna attract more than scientific curiosity. Other than ancient churches and stretches of alluring beaches, the island province is best known for the geologic marvel of Chocolate Hills and more recently, the mollycoddly Tarsier, a tiny endangered primate.

The charming mix of nature, history, science, and artistic knack among its people made Bohol a destination of choice for local and foreign tourists.

In such a vibrant conspiracy of circumstances, Peanut Kisses, a uniquely local peanut-based delicacy popped out to be a lip-smacking success. One cannot miss peanut kisses in Bohol’s pasalubong centers. The tasty knick-knack comes in 200, 100, and 20-gram packs.

Chocolate Hills & Peanut KissesPeanut Kisses is produced by Bucarez Food Processing Corporation, a unit of the Alturas Group of Companies based in Tagbilaran City, the island’s capital. The company was owned until 1996 by Carolina Butalid Alvarez.
AGC’s diversified business managed by Marlito Uy includes food and marine products manufacturing, rice import, supply and distribution, supermarket operations, farming, construction and development, tires marketing, and travel agency. The group’s farming units supply BFPC’s requirements for eggs, sugar, and vanilla. The peanuts however are obtained from suppliers in Manila, Negros, Davao, and Bohol.

In 1999, BFPC’s estimated annual production was about 50,000 kilograms through mainly self-generated process technology. It had 30 workers and annual sales of P9 million.

During the same year, the company availed and became the first beneficiary in Bohol of the Manufacturing Productivity Enhancement for Export Promotion [MPEX] program of the Department of Science and Technology. MPEX has since become part of the broader DOST-Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program or SET-UP, an initiative designed to spur entrepreneurial and job generation activities in the provinces.

DOST’s technology intervention came in three forms such as plant layout, packaging design, product formulation using alternative ingredients, and product analysis, and, training on good manufacturing practices [GMP], and on hazard analysis and critical control points [HACCP].

The P350-thousand technology intervention package was jointly introduced by DOST Region VI, Industrial Technology Development Institute, and Technology Application and Promotion Institute spanning June 1999 to December 2001.

The company also decided to acquire new rotary ovens with capacities of 36, 48, and 60 trays for each cooking time. One tray contains 130 pieces. The new ovens drastically reduced product rejects and “back jobs” went down to nearly zero. On top of the oven changeover, BFPC acquired a P1.3-million molding equipment. This resulted to standardized product size and shape along with faster production cycle.

Productivity has risen and BFPC’s annual output jumped to the current 150,000 kgs., while sales soared to P26 million in 2004. Its workforce also expanded to 90. The new packaging introduced by DOST also saved P300,000 for the company annually. The switch from high density polyethylene [HDPE] to “metalized foil” packaging maintained freshness of the product and prolonged shelf life from six months to one year.

Today, BFPC’s main market for Peanut Kisses is Tagbilaran [83%], followed by Iloilo, Cebu, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro [16%], and Manila [1%]. The company aims to go into export after the planned transfer of its production plant to a “new and bigger location”.

Other than appropriate technology, BFPC appears to have two things in its advantage; a widely available raw material and a defined vision of where it wants to be.

“It is our desire to improve the plant layout and to have a new and company-owned factory. To have a technical person to carry out the standards of a healthy, safe, and reasonably priced product. We want to produce an export quality Peanut Kisses through the intervention of DOST so that we can have a presence in more domestic and international markets,” the company said in a statement.

The Department of Agriculture cites at least three peanut varieties that can be grown and harvested all in 120 days. These varieties are coded such as ICGV 88480, ICGV 88392, and ICGV 88406, which can be planted in loose loam, sandy, silty loam, and clay loam soil types. These varieties can be planted any month of the year but perform better when planted between October to January. A 100-kg peanut planting seeds can cover one hectare, the DA said.

Overall, the country produced about 27,100 metric tons of peanuts last year, a slight improvement from about 26,100 MT in 2003.

Meanwhile, each peanut with shell [Arachis hypogaea] has 67 % edible portion, the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute in a study noted. For every 100 grams of peanut’s edible portion, one gets water [31.5g], energy [401kcal], protein [17.4g], fat [26.6g], carbohydrate [22.9g], dietary fiber [5.4g], ash [1.6g], calcium [61mg], phosphorous [283mg], iron [2.5mg], beta carotene [20 microgram], total vitamin A [3 microgram], thiamin [0.84mg], riboflavin [0.20mg], and niacin [9.5mg].

Now that plentiful nutritional package does not surely look just like peanuts.

quality ethnic food
Quality standard for ethnic food. Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro (foreground) explains the importance of setting standards for ethnic food in the country in a press briefing at the Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City recently. Among the standardized ethnic foods are dry base cooking mixes for soups and sauces, sweet preserves, and dried salted fish. The development of standards for selected ethnic foods is a joint effort of DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute, Philippine Food Manufacturers and Exportes, Inc., Department of Health ‘s Bureau of Food and Drug, Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Product Standards, and representatives from academic institutions, research and development institutes, government agencies, industry and consumer associations, and related professional associations. Also in the photo are (from left) BPS’s Norma Hernandez, Philexport’s Roselle Florendo, ITDI Director Nuna Almanzor , BFAD’s Florita Moralesa, and ITDI’s Jose Bautista III. [Gerry Palad, S&T Media Service]