Royce Jeric Chua: Sharing the Eng Bee Tin legacy with aspiring bakers

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Peter Fung (standing), president of the Filipino-Chinese Bakers Association Inc., Jerry Chua, board member, and son Royce Jeric Chua pose for a snapshot during the recently concluded Bakery Fair 2019 held at the World Trade Center.

Royce Jeric Chua, president of the Philippine Society of Baking (PSB), wants to improve and enhance the skills and capabilities of aspiring bakers to be competitive and to be better entrepreneurs.  

For the last two years, the PSB has conducted a lot of training programs in bakery mathematics, production, financial management, and product standardization, among others.

Chua said the PSB also aims to conduct new seminars intended for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help aspiring entrepreneurs in the early stages of the business.  

“We are a good way to open a bakery business,” Chua told the BusinessMirror in an interview on the sidelines of the recently concluded Bakery Fair 2019.  

Chua, also general manager of the Binondo-based popular bakery brand Eng Bee Tin, said a lot of Filipinos are interested to join the bakery business because Filipinos love to eat.

“Being a basic human need, food [like bread] is really going to be a very important part of an individual’s daily intake,” Chua said. He said the goal of the PSB is to elevate and upgrade the capabilities of local bakers so they can move up the value chain, which will lead to bigger markets in the future. “For example, if you have noticed before that, the quality either of your bread or cake, the PSB can help you upgrade the standards of your bread or cake,” Chua said.

“When you attend the seminars conducted by the PSB, we will tell you the reasons your products don’t appeal to the market,” he added.

Chua said seminars organized by the PSB would teach first-time bakers and entrepreneurs several aspects of the bakery business to ensure they will run on a sustainable basis. Right now, it is a nationwide project being conducted in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Moreover, Chua said PSB has formed a partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to teach the trainers new sets of skills to achieve better results for their baking business. “We also witness the training of trainers toward higher levels of skills,” he added.  

Chua said the baking industry has grown tremendously in the past years. This has been manifested with the growth in the number of flour mills from 12 to 22.

Moreover, he said, the market offers growth, as even major players like Gardenia had established a solid presence in the Philippines.

Another growth driver is the consumption of wheat-based products by Filipinos. There is also a growing number of Filipinos who need guidance in their baking business.

“I am encouraging anybody who is interested to join the bakery business to at least [be a] part of our group so we could help and assist…in running the business,” Chua said. 

For example, he said, the PSB could assist a fledgling baker on how to manage the business. “We can assist a new baker on how to minimize or eliminate wastage,” Chua said.

“If your wastage is high, your enterprise will not be profitable,” he pointed out.

Chua said an individual does not need to be a member of the PSB to join the seminars. Moreover, he said the PSB also conducts free seminars. “We also have seminars on bread science and cake science,” he said.

Meanwhile, Peter Fung, president of the Filipino-Chinese Bakers Association Inc. (FCBAI) expressed satisfaction on the turnout of the recently concluded Bakery Fair 2019 held at the World Trade Center.

When he was inducted as president of FCBAI a year ago, Fung, also the president of Ling Nam, said their power requirements were more than doubled and nearly tripled compared to Bakery Fair 2017. Moreover, he said, there were more exhibit booths and more new products featured by the exhibitors this year compared to the previous edition two years ago.

In his opening speech, Fung also commended the three past FCBAI presidents Henry Ah of Liberty Food Mart, Benito Ong of Baker’s Fair and Gerie Chua, popularly known as Mr. Ube, of Eng Bee Tin fame for their pioneering efforts in promoting baking in the country.

“When these three musketeers started selling the idea of holding our own bakery show in the Philippines in the year 2000, they were called all sorts of names from the three stooges to outright crazy. It was tough and hard sell idea of holding for an exhibit exclusively featuring bakery products and seminars promoting local Filipino-baked goods and Chinese pastries. It was never heard of at that time,” Fung said.

In 2001, Fung said Ah, Ong and Chua proved the cynics wrong as they successfully held the first bakery show in 2001 at the Philippine Trade Center.

“Eng Bee Tin products have found their way to the US market, Middle East, Australia, even Europe and [had] slowly become a global brand. Liberty Food Mart produces products for some of the biggest burger chains in the country and a leader in the promotion of artisan and healthy breads. And Bakery Fair is a very popular household name among housewives because of their diced hopia and hot pan de sal,” Fung explained.

He said the biennial event is now part of FCBAI’s corporate social responsibility to give back to the community. Through Bakery Fair, Fung said FCBAI hopes that it can inspire young Filipinos and Chinese Filipinos to love baking, to become entrepreneurs and become a driving force of the Philippine economy.

The 52-year-old FCBAI head aims to promote better baking standards, service and ethics; conducting many educational, research and development and socio-civic projects.