, March 8, 2005 (STAR) By Rocel C. Felix  -  Marsman Drysdale Foods Corporation, one of the country’s biggest exporters of fresh and processed mango products, will roll out a new product – the Philippine Carabao Mango Dice which is processed through state-of-the-art cryogenic freezing technology.

The company is pioneering in the use of cryogenic freezing technology, the project being a first in the local food manufacturing sector to install a tunnel freezer using nitrogen liquid that could produce 6,000 kilos or six tons of frozen diced mango on two 10-hour shifts daily.

Cryogenic freezing technology is a boon to frozen food manufacturers such as Marsman since it allows bigger production at a faster clip compared to regular mechanical blast freezing. And because cryogenic tunnel freezers can run at colder temperatures than mechanical blast freezers, higher production can be achieved even in a smaller floor space.

Another advantage of using cryogenic freezing technology is that it significantly cuts the freezing time to 10 - 15 minutes, reaching a temperature of -18 degree centigrade. In contrast, blast freezing takes four to six hours.

"The result of this very efficient freezing process is that the diced mango retains the properties of a freshly-picked mango, its taste and its appearance is the same as that of a fresh ripe mango," noted Manuel B. Sinnung, chief operating officer of Marsman-Drysdale

Moreover, when thawed, there is no dripping and sogginess which is usually the case with fruits that undergo mechanical blast freezing.

"This is critical especially with the Japanese buyers because they require suppliers of frozen fruit products to subject their products to a very rigid dripping test before these are accepted and distributed," added Sinnung.

At Marsman-Drysdale, freshly-picked mangoes undergo a five-stage washing process to remove adhering dirt and to lower microbial load. The next step is the removal of mango pulp from the skin, then it passes through a uniform cutting machine. The freshly-cut mango dice is washed and drained prior to quick tunnel freezing using liquid nitrogen. The frozen mango dice are then immediately packed and stored at -18 degree centigrade. The product has a shelf life of two years in cold storage.

Clemente D. Garrucho, president of Marsman-Drysdale said there is a huge market for its diced mango product in Japan.

"Our buyers know that the Philippine mango is the best-tasting mango in the world and they not only want it fresh, but also in processed form. Aside from these buyers, we are also getting inquiries from other industrial and commercial users, we have restaurants, bakeries, ice cream companies and confectioneries that have various applications for diced mango," noted Garrucho.

Garrucho said that for this year, the company is targeting to export to Japan 1,400 metric tons of diced mango worth about $5.4 million or about P297 million.

"This is a big leap compared to only 10 tons that we exported last year using blast freezing," said Garrucho.

Aside from Japan, the company is also talking to other potentially-big buyers such as the US which currently, only allows fresh mangoes from Guimaras Island in the Visayas, but otherwise, has no restrictions on the source or origin of frozen, powdered and pureed mangoes coming from the Philippines.

Garrucho is bullish about the frozen fruit market and expects the company’s export volumes to be bigger in the coming years.

"We are exploring several opportunities to expand our market such as the Fil-Ams (Filipino-Americans) who are engaged in trading and retailing at Oriental stores in the US, especially in the West Coast," noted Garrucho.

Aside from diced mango, Marsman-Drysdale will also be using its tunnel freezer to process other tropical fruits such as papaya and pineapple.

The company is also developing a new line of indivdually quick frozen tropical fruits and vegetable products to be able to get a slice of the growing global demand.

"For Philippine Carabao Mango Dice for instance, we will also start selling them in 500-ml convenience packs for individual buyers. That way we will be able to reach out to more customers, including households," said Garrucho.

Marsman Drysdale is one of the units of agribusiness firm Marsman-Drysdale Group. It is engaged in the export of fresh mangoes and fruit purees in variants that include mango, ube, calamansi, guayabano, and banana. It also sells bottled fruit juices such as mango nectar, mango juice, apple, orange, dalandan, calamansi and gingerade. The company also manufactures special export requirements like individually quick frozen mango halves.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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