How CDO evolved in 40 years: From home venture to modern firm

Corazon Dayro Ong, the entrepreneur behind Foodsphere Inc., which manufacturers CDO food products, recalls that 40 years ago, she and her husband Jose “Pepe” Ong started a kitchen-based “mom-and-pop” enterprise, producing siopao with a longanisa filling, longanisa and tocino products.

Today, Foodsphere is a major food company that manufactures and distributes  a wide selection of food products under popular brands  CDO, Bibbo, Holiday, San Marino, Highlands and Danes.  The company marks its 40 years in the business on June 25.

The modern manufacturing plant of CDO-Foodsphere Inc. in Malvar, Batangas.
“As we celebrate this important milestone, I can’t help but be nostalgic and remember how my husband Pepe and I started this business.  It was a modest beginning—a modest but important beginning....Four decades have passed and with all humility...What started as a home business has now grown big and successful,” says Corazon during a party hosted by the company for its business partners at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on June 16.

“As I look back at the past 40 years with all of you, my heart overflows with gratitude. There’s no better way of celebrating this, than expressing our sincerest appreciation to everyone who has been an important part of this journey,” she says.

“Thank you for believing in my dream. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pursue my passion,” she says.

Foodsphere, which was incorporated in 1975, marks 2015 as another milestone by paying tribute and recognition to employees, trade partners, suppliers, and the millions of Filipino consumers for believing in its products and for making CDO a household name.

From a kitchen-based “mom-and-pop” enterprise four decades ago, CDO-Foodsphere grew to become the country’s top food company employing over 3,000 Filipinos in state-of-the-art factories that produce high-quality products under popular brands  CDO, Bibbo, Holiday, San Marino, Highlands and Danes.

Corazon , a nutritionist-dietitian and her husband started the company at the their home in Valenzuela City which became the production, warehouse and distribution area.

CDO-Foodsphere employees.
The couples’ production area was a makeshift kitchen while their dining area served as the research and development and quality assurance offices.  The warehouse and distribution center was their garage. They produced and distributed siopao with a longanisa filling, longanisa and tocino products which were patronized by neighbors and friends.

With a P60,000 loan from a rural bank, the couple registered the  company as CDO Food Products on June 25, 1975. In 1981, the company was registered as Foodsphere Inc. and CDO became the flagship brand.

In 1985, a wide array of products were developed under the CDO brand, ranging from tocino, tapa, cheesedogs, bacon, chorizo, hams and sausages.

By 1990, Foodsphere built its first modern manufacturing plant in Valenzuela City in preparation for massive production and nationwide distribution.

In its quest to become a nationally-known brand, the company aired the first CDO television commercial in 1995 to increase brand awareness and to reach more consumers.

As the demand for its products expanded, Foodsphere inaugurated its second factory in 1998,  a new technoplant in Valenzuela City with a capacity of 100,000 kilos a day.  It also entered the canned corned beef business and was the first company to popularize Karne Norte in 100-gram cans.

In 2004,  Foodsphere established Odyssey Foundation Inc. as its corporate social responsibility arm to help the underprivileged members of society,  by administering supplemental feeding and livelihood programs in impoverished communities.

Foodsphere launched Bibbo! Cheesedog in 2005, signalling the company’s thrust to become a key player in the premium hotdog  segment.

In 2009, the company inaugurated the new megaplant  in Malvar, Batangas to support the expansion of its hotdog business and the introduction of marine products. The plant features state-of-the-art  facilities  to provide higher  efficiency output  to produce world-class quality products.

Foodsphere entered into the local canned tuna business which used to be controlled 99 percent by one industry player, by launching San Marino Corned Tuna.  The brand has increased its market share by offering consumers with a wider choice of tuna products.

In 2011, Foodsphere launched Highlands Corned Beef as its entry into the premium corned beef segment.   Highlands is a brand that is made with Angus Beef.

The company was awarded ISO 22000: 2005 Food Safety Management System certification in 2011,   ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System certification in 2012 and FSSC  22000:2010 Food Safety System certification in 2013.

Foodsphere is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015.  From a “mom and pop” business in 1975, Foodsphere has grown to become an innovative and reliable food company, which produces high-quality products within the reach of Filipino consumers.

From a makeshift kitchen with two employees, Foodsphere now employs more than 3,000 Filipinos in two manufacturing plants, several provincial branch offices, warehouses, factory stores, and in the different supermarkets and groceries nationwide.

“We could not be where we are today without you.  Because of you, what started as a dream became our company with a successful experience and commitment in providing high-quality and nutritious food products at reasonable prices at all times,” Corazon says.


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