Small and medium enterprises (SME) Starkaffea Corporation has rolled out its latest local chocolate drink, Chocolea, in select SM Hypermarket, Shopee and Lazada. Chocolea sachet contains its signature healthy sweetener, coconut sugar.
Every cup of the new chocolate drink contains Vitamins A, C, calcium, and iron. The Filipino-owned SME said their latest chocolate drink had undergone a total of 50-trial formulations to ensure it has quality ingredients most suitable for the Filipino taste buds.
With the ongoing pandemic and persistent inflation, SMEs in the Philippines have continued to overcome untold hurdles thrown their way. Starkaffea Corporation is one of the local businesses that is thriving and trying to earn a niche in the beverage industry despite the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation.
Cheng Pabilonia, Starkaffea Corporation’s CEO, described the challenges as enormous but the business managed to sign up with more than 100 new store partner distributors and finalized export transactions with a Singapore distributor for its signature healthy coffee company.
“Our sales dropped by about 36 percent in 2020 versus our 2019 sales but government agencies such as the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Agriculture provided the much-needed support to bridge their economic situation,” she said.
During the pandemic, online and social media platforms have paved the way for small businesses to thrive better and tap more consumers to buy their products. Starkaffea has managed to optimize its digital marketing platforms and embarked on a social media campaign during the pandemic. Pabilonia also has attributed the survival of her business to her staff who have exerted their efforts to produce a healthy alternative coffee and chocolate drink for the Filipinos.
“We have always wanted to provide our patrons with quality alternative healthy product. Other than coffee, Starkaffea is proud to introduce Chocolea, the first chocolate drink using coconut sugar in the Philippines,” said Pabilonia.
Eating chocolate causes the release of happy hormones in the body and contains powerful antioxidants such as flavanols, which prevent inflammation and protect the body from cell damage. It also contains prebiotics that generates friendly bacteria in the gut, which help produce nutrients for the colon cells, creating a healthier digestive system. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s latest study shows that coconut sugar has the lowest Glycemic Index (GI), with only 35 GI among all types of sugar.
Dr. Alberto Magpily, Head of Physical Therapy Clinic at the UP College of Human Kinetics and a former visiting consultant in surgery at St Luke’s Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, and General Malvar Hospital, advocates for the health benefits the body can get from coconut sugar. He said Chocolea can help regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure, which is rich in calcium and potassium. It also helps manage diabetes and boosts the immune system.
Currently, Pabilonia said they are currently looking for opportunities on how their products, Kaffea and Chocolea, can be made available to OFWs abroad and their families. The company plans to distribute its products through export partnerships with DTI-Ka local projects and is getting ready for its global expansion.
Chocolea is ideal for children aged four years old and above as well as adults. It is currently available at select SM Hypermarkets in Jazz Mall, Mall of Asia, SM Las Pinas SM Pasig Tiendesitas, SM Taytay, SM North Tower EDSA. It is also available at DTI Go Lokal stores and will soon launch in Kultura.