By Jonah May Nueca, UPLB Intern
Triple L’s growth journey
With little anticipation of great success, Hazel Myrisse Cabe started as a farmer in 2015 by intercropping coconut and banana. A year later, Cabe took the risk to the process of bananas into chips instead of selling them as is. She started working in the comfort of her home with a few production workers and no advanced equipment. Her product slowly gained market exposure from the barangay up to the whole municipality of Quinapondan in Eastern Samar. Because of this, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required her to comply with operating standards to secure a business license and permit which officially gave birth to Triple L Food Products in 2017. Since then, Cabe grabs every opportunity to address the needs of her growing business in terms of operations and marketing improvements. Cabe attended seminars and training on business and financial management with full determination. She became a beneficiary of People in Need (PIN) which bridged the way to build a fruitful partnership between Triple L Products and GlowCorp.
Healthy as a Banana: GlowCorp and Triple L’s partnership
According to Cabe, GlowCorp is a lenient partner in terms of considering how much of the supply Triple L can only provide. She considers their partnership as transformational as it pushed for Triple L Banana Chips to be offered in a bigger market, thus an increase in sales. GlowCorp also helped in the product development taking the latest market preferences into account. Prior to the partnership, Cabe recalls offering other banana products such as banana brittle, banana polvoron, banana jam, and banana vinegar. She was advised by the General Manager, Bernie Berondo, to focus on one product for business sustainability given growing production. Moving forward, Cabe experienced a lot of improvements but also did not expect the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which brought in great challenges for small enterprises like Triple L.
Amidst a Pandemic: Challenges, Opportunities, and Recovery
Triple L sought the need for a new facility to cater to bigger orders from GlowCorp and its other partners. This is to efficiently mass produce and sustain the growing market demand. Cabe availed of loan products and services to start the construction of a better facility. However, it was brought to a halt in 2020 when the pandemic started. The majority of Triple L’s sales were used to cover the construction of the facility and other additional expenses. The enterprise needed to cut the staff. Orders including those from GlowCorp significantly reduced because of weakened demand. Triple L ventured to a more active online selling of its products to continue its operations although it contributes relatively little. Fortunately, when orders were slowly moving from other partners, Triple L became a supplier of DepEd for its school-based feeding program. The enterprise receives bulk orders which are then delivered to elementary schools in Eastern Samar. Finally, on the 3rd of March 2022, Triple L opens its new facility and celebrated its 5th anniversary on the same day.
As the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, GlowCorp resumed its banana chips orders. In 2021, GlowCorp ordered over 5000 bottles of banana chips. Meanwhile, Triple L was able to revive its production and bring back the normal number of its staff members. Today, as fuel prices soar high, Triple L maintains its good relationship with GlowCorp. Cabe believes that challenges like these will not last forever. Increasing the prices of Triple L’s products is not as simple despite the already increasing prices of raw materials. Instead, Cabe says that Triple L continuously recovers from orders in nearby areas with consistency in providing high-quality “Masarap Na, Healthy Pa!” banana chips.