Dried mangoes are everyone’s favorite. That chewy and fruity feel is super addictive. As a matter of fact, I developed the liking the moment I took the first bite. That was long time ago. However, every dried mango experience I have brings me back to the first-time euphoria.
The Philippine dried mangoes are one of the country’s top food export. Tons are shipped to Japan, the US, China, Canada, and many other countries around the world. Hence, when the organizers included Profood plant tour in the Cebu Food Crawl 2016 itinerary, I suddenly got excited.
Profood’s Audio-Visual Introduction
The Profood’s Mandaue plant was rather a quiet compound. I did not hear loud machinery noise nor noticed any skidding sound from ageing conveyor belts and tractor wheels.
Empty blue, maroon, and brown crates were stacked up to seven feet high. A wide tarp featuring their flagship products was spread edge-to-edge across the stack as cover and to separate the guests’ parking from the production area. Before we could explore more about the complex, Daisy Uy, the daughter of the owner, guided us to the audio-visual room. The AVR looked more like a mini theater.
The video showed the company’s humble beginnings and their journey to what the company has become in the present. It also featured the brief run through of the fruit processing steps and the technologies they use.
The Plant Tour and the Making of Dried Mangoes
After the 15-minute introduction, we toured around the processing sections. Taking photos were not allowed in some areas. The compound was massive that we needed a shuttle to move around.
Our first stop was the receiving warehouse where crates of farm fruits are weighed and segregated. Every step in that section were manually done by the workers. I noticed a weighing machine/segregator seating at one corner but it seemed decommissioned long time ago.
The Mandaue plant is also a host to a huge buko juice extractor. From what we had seen, the buko extracts were processed with very minimal human contact. The workers were limited to holding the outer layers of the coconut. The machines took care of everything, from extraction, processing, and packaging.
On the other hand, the dried mango processing plant was a stunner. Daisy showed us the steps how ripe mangoes are peeled, sliced, and deseeded. The mango flesh were then transported to a huge desiccator for drying.
After drying, the outputs were conveyed for manual quality check to remove spots. As per Daisy, they have meticulous customers who consider the spots as dirt so they have to cut them away.
Moreover, I was amazed by their automated quality checker at the end of the dried mango production line. It is equipped with a weigh scale and sensitive cameras that detect weight difference and dark spots. The packs with weight and color deviation were dunked into the junk box.
The juice processing section was not operating that day. We watched a video presentation on its place, nonetheless. Daisy informed us that on low seasons, they lease that area to third party beverage makers.
At the end of the tour, Daisy brought us to their in-house museum and pasalubong center.
About Profood International Corporation
The Profood International Corporation, by the way, is Philippines top producer of dried mangoes under Cebu and Philippine Brand. They also process and pack other desiccated tropical fruit products, purees, concentrates, and juices aside from dried mangoes.
The company also supplies fresh fruit cuts packed with IQF (individual quick freezing) technology to retain the natural flavor, texture, and freshness. Amazing!
Profood was established in 1980 by Justin Uy of Cebu. Since then, the company has able to grow as the largest fruit processor in the country. It has now a total of four processing plants spread across the country: one is in Luzon (First Bulacan Industrial Park); two in the Visayas (Iloilo and Mandaue City); and one in Mindanao (Davao City).
Furthermore, one good thing to note about Profood is that, all their sites received international accreditation. Among them are ISO 9001:2008, HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), Kosher, Halal, and NSF. These markings assure the consumers that all the foods coming out from the Profood factory are of utmost quality.