Most Filipinos cater mainly to chicken, pork, beef or fish for their protein needs.
But if the EDL group wants its will, duck will be added to these choices and have a greater presence in everyday meals. After all, duck meat is darker, juicier and tastier than chicken’s, albeit more expensive.
It is this firm belief in the great market potential of duck meat that led the EDL Group, a conglomerate engaged in marketing and distribution, veterinary production, animal husbandry and organic food production, to invest heavily in a 33-hectare complex in Capas, Tarlac, with the intention of producing, among other things, a range of duck-based, chef-approved products, including the prized Peking duck, which is a staple in Chinese restaurants.
EDL Group COO Eulo Lorenzo said that his father – the group’s founder Dr. Eulalio Lorenzo – was also encouraged to invest in the duck industry by the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines.
These Chinese workers, the Filipino-Chinese community, and Filipinos who know Chinese food presented an untapped market, more than there are only about three local producers of top-quality duck meat.
Taking advantage of its decades of experience in agriculture, it developed its own expertise in duck farming to the point that it was able to meet the needs of the best local restaurants and hotels serving other dishes, especially Peking duck.
The EDL group has been able to meet the demands of demanding chefs as the best breeds of ducks grow up in state-of-the-art facilities that comply with strict biosecurity measures and are monitored by consultants and breeders from France and Belgium, ensuring them high quality.
To expand the market, Elder Lorenzo decided to make the ducks under the Primaduck brand — developed under EDL Agritourism — available through his casual dining room in Greenhills, San Juan, called Yong-A Oriental Roast Duck and Roasted Duck Express.
Dishes developed with the help of a Chinese roast duck expert in China, who in turn trained the local chefs.
“This was another opportunity to serve roasted duck lovers by offering farm-fresh, locally produced and world-class Peking duck meat, cooked properly in the Cantonese way,” Lorenzo said.
Aside from roasted duck, Primaduck, which was also launched four years ago, developed duck-based tocino, tapa, longganisa and other frozen products to penetrate Filipino homes.
“We literally spent thousands of hours and sleepless nights in our R&D activities. Food safety is paramount, so there was an in-house food technician who oversaw all research and development. Competent and experienced chefs, and the owners were all part of the team that ensured the taste and quality of the products, ”said Lorenzo.
The Primaduck brand had already begun to make serious inroads by 2020, when the pandemic hit, and like most other companies, it was hit hard by sales, which fell by
introduction of comprehensive quarantine controls.
“We were affected by the pandemic, as were the other companies in the food and beverage and hospitality industry. Restaurants that we delivered to either stopped or ordered less. Most of them offered buffets, so lockdowns affected their operations, and in return our business with them, ”Lorenzo said.
However, the EDL group is not about to throw in the towel, thus immediately shifting gears and exploring other ways to earn revenue to retain its 700 employees.
It explored new business models for Primaduck, used new distribution channels such as supermarkets and eateries in the neighborhood and new revenue streams such as. Via e-commerce.
“We are now working on distribution on a larger scale in Luzon. We have our online stores that sell the frozen duck products (www.pekingduck.ph) (www.edl-store.com), fresh whole duck meat and whole duck ham. Our Roasted Duck Express (www.roastedduckexpress.com) is also doing well online, ”Lorenzo said,“ A reseller program is underway and we’re just excited because the economy is slowly opening up, but we still need to be very careful, COVID -19 is still a threat and a danger. ”
The EDL Group has had its share of business challenges over its nearly 30 years of operation, but COVID-19 proved to be a more formidable adversary. What the learned group is that it must always be on its toes and ready to swing right away.
“We recognize that a company like ours constantly needs to innovate and turn around if necessary, this is the ultimate lesson for us and can also work for most companies. So we are currently continuing to build a strong online presence as it is very efficient and cost effective, ”he said.
And despite the continued shutdowns that have hampered operations, the EDL group remains optimistic about Primaduck.
“More people are being vaccinated, and slowly we will be able to contain and eventually defeat this virus. And even though there are many co-owners out there, we will continue to bring them the best in quality duck products. The Philippines is slowly, but steadily, accepting duck meat on their plates, ”Lorenzo said.
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