ANILA, Philippines - Cooking oil is a ubiquitous staple in every Filipino kitchen, complementing most Filipinos' penchant to fry their favorite dishes. There is actually a lot of cooking oil brands-both local and international-in every supermarket these days, perhaps to the point of product saturation. But, a Malaysian company is confident that the Philippines is ready for yet another cooking oil brand option-with a healthy twist.
Recently, Lam Soon Edible Oils Sdn. Bgd.-a 60-year-old Malaysian palm oil refining company-introduced one of its prime products to the Philippine market, the Buruh cooking oil, at a launch held in the S&R Membership Shopping center at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. As of press time, S&R Membership Shopping is the exclusive distributor of Buruh in the Philippines.
"Buruh cooking oil is already famous in Malaysia and we would like to share it to other ASEAN countries [as well]," said Elaine Tang, a representative for Lam Soon's Consumer Food Department, Marketing Division. "This product is excellent for deep frying because it is stable and healthy. You can actually reuse the oil [for frying] up to three times." Buruh cooking oil has consistently won the Reader's Digest Trusted Brand award for the cooking oil category in Malaysia since 2006.
So, what exactly is Buruh's edge over other edible oils? Tang shared that the product is made from pure palm oil, which is known for its health benefits. It is noted by the brand that Buruh cooking oil is rich in "Vitamin E, fortified with Vitamin A and is cholesterol-free." The natural antioxidants in the product's formulation also make it durable for cooking and can sustain multiple frying cycles while remaining bland and odorless.
Lam Soon Edible Oils Sdn. Bgd. has also brought in its other products to S&R such as margarines, soaps and dishwashing liquids.
In relation, S&R has observed that Filipinos are becoming more aware of international household brands, with an increasing awareness for Asian names. According to Gwen Lourdes Lim, Head Buyer for S&R Membership Shopping, the knowledge of shoppers for products sold "used to be very westernized, but because of the growing Asian population, [we] are selling more Asian products like Buruh cooking oil."
As the Philippine community continues to globalize (with expats living in the country and OFWs and frequent Filipino travelers knowledgeable about products abroad), the S&R team thinks that product diversity is one of the keys to retail success. "We don't want to be boring," said Kelly Ricks, Director of Operations for S&R Membership Shopping.
S&R's product promotion seems to be interactive. At its Bonifacio Global City outlet, there is a stall that uses Buruh cooking oil to deep-fry Malaysian-style cookies. As Ricks explained, "We do a lot of word of mouth, so what our staff does [is to let] the customers and members coming in the store try our product, take them home, then tell their friends and neighbors [about it.]" So far, Ricks and his team feel that they "have done a pretty good job in getting the word out."