Business boom: New Philippine halal chocolate maker rapidly expanding at home and overseas

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

The MS3 Choco range will be soon carried in 13 Robinsons stores around the Philippines as well as exported to Malaysia.
The MS3 Choco range will be soon carried in 13 Robinsons stores around the Philippines as well as exported to Malaysia.
A Philippine halal chocolate maker is seeing its domestic business boom, while also securing its first deal to enter the Malaysian market, just months after making the move into finished products.

MS3 Agri-Ventures, which produces its MS3 Choco range, will be carried in 13 Robinsons stores around the Philippines.

Furthermore, the firm has appointed Qino Marketing Sdn Bhd as sole distributor to import its products into Malaysia.

The range was first launched for consumers in November, at the Halal Trade Fair & Exhibit 2017 in Davao City. Previously, it mainly produced cacao nibs, tablea, powder and tea. It now also has cacao vinegar.

The finished chocolate products contain 50% dark chocolate or Bonchoc (meaning “Bean of Nature Chocolate”), or 65 % and 75% Dark Chocolate. They come in 20g and 50g packages, and retail for Ps 35 and Ps 65 (about US$0.70 and US$1.25).

The chocolates are made from their own tablea — cacao tablets made from roasted and ground cacao nibs moulded into rounds.

Halal aids new growth

MS3 Agri-Ventures began obtaining halal certification for its cacao products about a year ago.

The company’s production facility and products are certified by the Islamic Dawah Council of the Philippines (IDCP).

Co-founder Neil “Abdul Kareem” Q. Santillan said that they saw that their raw cacao products were not as marketable, and so decided to develop finished products.

“Having products which are halal-certified makes them safe to be consumed by both Muslim and non-Muslim customers. It allows us to compete in the international global halal market,” ​said Santillan.

“We need to follow Islamic cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and the integrity of halal products must be maintained all the way from procurement of raw materials through to the production of finished products.

Santillan said the company’s vision is to become a world-class brand of fine chocolates.

MS3 Agri-Ventures was founded in 2016. All of its cacao resources and product ingredients are locally-grown and produced in Mindanao.

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