Malunggay tea drink gets boost from mothers
A blurry photo of a bottle of malunggay concentrate and three bottles of breast milk on Facebook changed the marketing strategy of a health food company.
Corazon Torrevillas Tamase, president and founder of Nature Earth Corp., has a thriving business thanks to M2 Malunggay Concentrate Tea Drink. The drink’s main ingredient, malunggay (moringa olifeira), is considered a superfood for its high nutritional value and medicinal benefits.
When Aiya Dumagain, a mother from Baguio who posted the photo on Facebook, started ordering more M2s and selling them to lactating mothers, Tamase found a profitable niche.
Citing research, Tamase says malunggay boosts the yield of breast milk. “Two grams of malunggay can provide two ounces of breast milk, ” she says.
She conducted an experiment in a daycare center, which later showed that lactating mothers who drank M2 once a day produced more milk in a month. Another group, mothers who drank M2 twice daily, increased their yield in two weeks.
Besides moringa, M2 ingredients include okra, ginger and muscovado sugar, which are then mixed and brewed in Nature Earth’s factory.
Since November, M2 has widened its reach through digital marketing and e-commerce. Advocates of this malunggay drink have put up a Facebook page called M2 Lactation Club, which, as of this writing, has gained 53,851 likes. Mothers share their journey into pregnancy as well as tips.
The efficacy of M2 and other healthy snacks, including the best-selling moringa-infused otap, has prompted some enterprising mothers to become sellers and distributors themselves.
Angelique “Angel” Guico, 22, and her husband Mark, 32, left a bakery chain to work from their house in Parañaque. Aside from offering their baking services and desserts, they started Guico’s General Merchandise store.
When Angel was nursing her firstborn, she noticed her milk production was slow. After having a second son, she was advised by her doctor to have her breast milk made available all the time.
She tried the tea for two days initially, noticing later that her milk production had increased. Every time she pumped milk, she would complement it with a glass of M2.
The Guicos started posting Nature Earth products on their Facebook page, Angel’s Sweet Tooth, which also sells homemade desserts. They started selling M2 to friends in Parañaque and joined food fairs in SM malls.
Tamase says that since she got her iPhone last November, business has never been so good. She is able to boost the social media exposure of Nature Earth products by planning the content.
Online stores such as Kalesa and Lazada have even approached Tamase.
Through e-commerce, Nature Earth’s products are now distributed throughout the country and as far as Guam and Saudi Arabia.
Last January, Nature Earth raked in P1.5 million in sales.
Before she became an entrepreneur, Tamase worked in the corporate world. To put up with stress, she splurged in unhealthy food. Suffering from diabetes and hypertension, she had to take in a cocktail of pills every day.
Tired of her frequent visits to the doctor, she researched on natural cures and came across malunggay. She has since made healthy eating an advocacy.
Nature Earth started out as a backyard operation with help from Tamase’s husband, Franz Josef.
Today, Nature Earth offers moringa-infused fried noodles called shingalings and sweet potato chips. Initially, the noodles paid the rent and salaries.
For her corporate social responsibility, Tamase helps the Sampaloc Cooperative of Farmers from Tanay, Rizal, by purchasing their turmeric. These are repacked into powdered turmeric tea.
Nature Earth has since moved to a larger facility to accommodate the increasing demand. A 24-hour shift can produce 3,500 M2 bottles a day.
The Department of Science and Technology lent Nature Earth money to purchase cooking kettles and a sealing machine for the bottles.
Tamase’s ultimate goal is to work with more farmers to produce moringa and set up drying facilities. She currently sources malunggay from Bacolod, Pangasinan and Laguna.
She also dreams of acquiring a one-hectare property to produce more healthy snacks and give millions of people cheaper and healthier food alternatives. —CONTRIBUTED
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