On the road to health and fitness, Andy Albao decided to manufacture a suite of natural products under the CocoWonders brand.
CocoWonders, a brand of products derived from coconut, is the flagship brand of Andy Albao Corporation.
Established in 2011, the brand has come along way to exporting coconut products to Australia, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the European Union. About 40 percent of CocoWonder’s production is exported to the EU.
“European buyers are aware and have the purchasing power. In 2014, we began exporting to Europe as well. We penetrated more markets than others and have been awarded ‘Best SME’ by the Philippine Coconut Association (PCA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) 2 years in a row, in 2020 and 2021,” Albao said.
Andy grows coconuts in a rented farm in Quezon Province. All coconut products are processed in a facility located in the farm. The facility is already 70 percent mechanized that makes it easier for the company to serve global demand.
The Philippines is one of the major producers of coconut sugar in the world. CocoWonders produces coconut sugar that is EU organic certified and compliant with good manufacturing practices (GMP).
In fact, this is one of the first requirements that Andy recalls he had to meet before beginning to export to Europe.
“In 2013, I participated in Anuga Trade Fair held in Germany. Customers did not buy from us because we were not EU organic certified at that time. In 2015, we applied for organic certification. This opened the doors for us to European buyers,” Albao said.
He worked with Netherlands based Control Union Certifications to obtain the required certifications.
With the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), CocoWonders have registered in the EU’s Registered Exporter system (REX system), a system of self-certification of origin for exporters wishing to benefit from GSP+.
“Availing of the GSP+ has made me more competitive in the European market. Customers don’t need to pay tariffs once we avail of the GSP+. We don’t need to pay for Certificate of Origin every time we make a shipment. Now we just include our REX number in the commercial invoice, and we are sorted,” Albao said.