Sojitz opens bread factory in Philippines, eyes foray into Vietnam
STO. TOMAS, Philippines, NNA - Japanese trading house Sojitz Corp. officially opened its first bread manufacturing plant in the Philippines on Tuesday and said it is also considering expanding into Vietnam.
Nippon Premium Bakery Inc., Sojitz's joint venture with Fukuoka-based bakery Ryoyu Co. and Filipino partner JR & R Distributors Inc., opened the plant in Sto. Tomas in the province of Batangas, about 100 kilometers south of Manila.
The joint venture also plans to open factories on the islands of Visayas and Mindanao to tap into growing demand in the Philippines, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.
Sojitz President and CEO Masayoshi Fujimoto told NNA that his company decided to venture into the Philippine bread market after a successful entry into Indonesia.
The Tokyo-based trading house is also looking into the possibility of setting up a manufacturing unit in Vietnam, he said without elaborating.
Nippon Premium Bakery President Takao Okabe told NNA that his firm anticipates growing bread consumption in the Philippines, where rice remains the staple food. He predicted that the food culture in the Philippines would change along with people's increasing disposable income.
Okabe said just as Japan has undergone changes in lifestyle, and the food culture has seen a shift from rice to bread, the Philippines will witness a similar transformation in the future. (NNA/Kyodo)