On May 30, 2018, Go Negosyo sa Radyo host Sen. Bam Aquino and guest host Faith Salaver were joined by DTI Region IV-A Regional Director Marilou Toledo, Design Center of the Philippines Executive Director Rhea Matuta, and Packaging Institute of the Philippines – MSME Development Board Director Clarke Nebrao to discuss everything there is to know about packaging.

Regional Director Toledo shared how DTI, through Sec. Ramon Lopez, created a national technical working group to focus on packaging. Sec. Lopez also tapped the private sector particularly the suppliers of the packaging materials as well as the associations, foundations, and advocates for packaging.

RD Toledo reported that there were three pilot runs of Pack Pinas which happened this May in Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, and the Calabarzon region. From there, they introduced the suppliers to the small and medium business owners. This was done to alleviate the burden of MSMEs in requesting for good materials as suppliers usually require bulk orders for them to produce quality materials.

Nakakatuwa ‘yung mga malalaking companies kasi talagang nag-rreach out sila to the micro, small, and medium enterprises,” RD Toledo said. She also envisions that the collaboration among government, private sector, and the MSMEs will be strengthened through this initiative.

Meanwhile, Board Director and Go Negosyo mentor Clarke Nebrao presented that 86% of the purchases of the customers are being done at the physical stores. He emphasized that consumers consider the visual appeal of the products before purchasing.

He also said that in a recent study, “Ang ating mga produkto ay ‘the best in the world’ pero when we export it, hindi siya makapag-compete.” When it is presented with the exports from other countries, “ang ating mga produkto, napag-iwanan ng packaging,” he added.

Nebrao also said that Pack Pinas bridges the gap between microentrepreneurs, suppliers, and technology enablers. Through the program, the whole packaging ecosystem is connected. MSMEs can personally inquire and learn about packaging with the experts in the industry. Additionally, members of the Packaging Institute of the Philippines agreed to diminish the minimum amount of quality packaging request from 5,000 to 100 so these enterprises can start small.

“With this new initiative of DTI, mas maramdaman sana [ng mas marami] ang impact ng Design Center,” Director Rhea Matuta shared. She also stated that conceptualizing the design of the packaging is a matter of addressing all aspects to communicate the value of one’s product.

Director Matuta elaborated on the things to consider when designing a product’s packaging. These include the product’s uniqueness, taste and shelf life preservation, and the overall functional quality of the packaging. “It’s not a compromise of either-or. You are just making sure na kung ano yung il-launch mo sa market is talagang of quality and how you put your passion into it,” she continued.

The three guests cited some of the enterprises that their respective institutions have helped in developing a better image for their product. Among those are the Philippines’ own ube balls, coffee, and cashew butter.

They also addressed the questions of the listeners. They were in agreement that the consumers today consider if the product manufacturing and designing are environment-friendly. Nebrao believes that a zero-plastic packaging is possible in the Philippines.

Nebrao also shared that through the assistance of these organizations, the risk of the country’s products being returned for not complying with the label requirements is reduced. Through their intervention and mentoring, they equip MSMEs with the apt knowledge on packaging to build their own brand and compete with the international market.

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