Get to know Mega Prime Foods Inc. (MPFI) and the people behind it
For thousands of Filipino consumers, the word ‘sardines’ is synonymous with Mega: the brand that has made sardines into a nutritious yet affordable mainstay of the Pinoy cupboard.
Behind the brand is Mega Prime Foods Inc. (MPFI), a subsidiary of Mega Global Corporation, which was recently launched to expand Mega’s current portfolio of food products. As the newest of Mega’s subsidiaries, it is envisioned to play a vital role in ensuring the company’s commitment to making nutritious food easily accessible to all Filipinos, as captured in its tagline of improving every day, one meal at a time.
As it gears up to address the ever-evolving needs of the Filipino consumer, MPFI’s leaders—led by Michelle Tiu Lim Chan, Chief Operating Officer; Marvin Tiu Lim, Chief Growth & Development Officer; and Malcolm Tiu Lim, Chief Technical & Innovations Officer—share their vision for the company and how it will fulfill its mandate.
Why did you have to establish a separate entity from Mega? What is the difference between Mega Prime Foods Inc. and Mega Global?
Michelle Tiu Lim Chan: Structure-wise, Mega Prime Foods Inc. (MPFI) was established to set itself apart from the fishing fleet and canning operations side of the corporation under Mega Global and to professionalize its corporate structure in preparation for the future growth of the company. But the reasons for setting up MPFI go deeper than that and are rooted in our values and our purpose as a company: to provide high-quality, value-for-money food products, and this is strongly propelled by our five company core values. Holding onto these values has led us to where we are now, 47 years later, producing the Number 1 sardines brand in the Philippines, an expanding portfolio, a growing fleet, and more. That “more” means growth—growth as a result of the community’s trust in our ability to provide what they need and what they deserve, and in going beyond through initiatives like the Mega Bigay Sustansya program running for four years now. Opening a new chapter is always daunting, but with it comes the anticipation and adventure of something different.
What is your vision for MPFI?
Marvin Tiu Lim: Being stagnant is a status we have never found ourselves in. It is not out of developing new products for the sake of it, but we have always been in tune with the needs and wants of Filipinos and challenging ourselves to create something that anyone from all walks of life will enjoy. And we are
challenging ourselves again as we take another big step. MPFI expands Mega’s current extensive portfolio of delicious, nutritious, affordable, and accessible food products needed to build a healthy Filipino household. MPFI upholds the belief that nutritious food should be accessible is manifested in its products, providing Filipinos with the highest quality of products they deserve. As the largest subsidiary in the Mega business, MPFI will go beyond pioneering product innovations but in totality, will boost our commitment to uplifting the lives of Filipinos.
What challenges and struggles did you have to go through in the past 27 years to get Mega to where it is today? What have you learned from the process?
Michelle Tiu Lim Chan: Mega was not always a large company. We started out modestly, and in 1975, we moved to Zamboanga, the sardines capital of the Philippines. We initially supplied the big canneries with their sardine needs, but we saw that we can do much more and not be at the mercy of the large canneries if we went to the canning business ourselves. The succeeding years were not easy, but we were motivated by our desire to offer fresh, high-quality sardines to consumers. To do so, we knew we needed to modernize and introduce innovations in the entire process of manufacturing canned sardines. This required time, resources, and most of all, commitment. All these led to our innovative, trademark 12-hour catching-to-canning process that significantly improved our products and processes and allowed us to blaze new trails in better serving consumers and pursuing innovations to elevate the local sardines industry, and along with that, the communities that we work with.
Tell us more about these innovations.
Malcolm Tiu Lim: MPFI opens up another opportunity for us to advance our technologies and introduce new innovations to the business. As we all have learned from our father, William Tiu Lim: never stop challenging yourself. The Mega Manufacturing Plant, backed by a one billion-peso investment, will feature modern equipment and facilities. This includes state-of-the-art production machinery that will produce quality food products for Filipinos here and abroad; a world-class research and development facility where exciting new products from MPFI will be developed; a cold storage facility; a large warehouse; and a fishmeal plant. The plant will be modern and environment-friendly with the installation of an energy-efficient light source to lower carbon footprint emissions.
When MPFI becomes fully operational, we expect to produce a total of 160 million cans of sardines across the entire production line. Moreover, we have upgraded the technologies of the Ayala Canning and Talisayan plants in Zamboanga to ensure the highest quality of output across the whole Mega business. These two facilities will be operating under Mega Fishing Corporation, with its main business of fishing, can-making, and ship-building, particularly for canned sardines production, in keeping with our vertically integrated process.
How does MPFI plan to expand its operations and maintain its status as the top sardines brand in the Philippines?
Marvin Tiu Lim: Two years ago, we broke ground for our biggest plant yet, the Mega Manufacturing Plant in Batangas. It is now nearing completion and it is expected to provide more than 1,000 jobs and create more demand from local fishermen as the Mega Manufacturing Plant will boost our production of canned sardines. Overall, the plant is set to increase our current capacity by 30 to 50% and will increase overall availability. This will also augment the increasing demand of the market in Luzon and abroad. The Batangas plant will open many opportunities for us to innovate and introduce new products as the plant will also house a research and development facility, all housing local talents who are challenged to bring something new to the Filipino table.
Sustainability is a major global concern. How does Mega embrace sustainable practices?
Malcolm Tiu Lim: We deeply believe that sustainable development is important for business growth. We are working on adopting sustainable practices in our Batangas plant, similar to what we have done in our plants in Zamboanga, such as the zero-waste management system and the use of sustainable energy sources to minimize our carbon footprint. Related to this and more importantly, we endeavor to be good corporate citizens. Adhering to the Mega standard, MPFI and its Mega Manufacturing Plant in Batangas puts a premium on the company’s compliance with internationally- recognized certifications and standards including the FSSC:22000, Hazards Analysis, and Critical Control Point or HACCP; the European Union certification for our export business, and HALAL certification.
Another crucial pillar of sustainability is our commitment to communities and the Filipinos. One of our corporate values is malasakit, which is at the heart of our sustainability efforts. The Mega Tiu Lim Foundation will continue serving as the Social Responsibility arm of Mega Global Holdings, which serves as another avenue for us to uphold our value of malasakit by extending help to Filipinos in need. Definitely, our efforts will not end here, as we continue to pursue ways to be able to contribute to a sustainable future.
MPFI’s success story is an inspiration to many Filipino entrepreneurs. Any parting words for them?
Michelle Tiu Lim Chan: Whether you’re just starting out or are already big, always remember your commitment to your consumers. Value your partners and the members of the community you work with. Know your values as a company and stand by these. For Mega, our values of being God-centered, honesty and integrity, malasakit, respect with humility, and inspired fun, have allowed us to stay the course through the year and allowed us to positively impact the lives of Filipinos through the work we do.
As the Philippine economy picks up steam, MPFI is definitely well-placed to achieve its vision of taking the company to new heights while contributing to national development. To learn more, visit the MPFI official website.