Great Food Packaging…


Food packaging in the Philippines is oftentimes pretty abysmal. There are a few bright exceptions, but generally speaking, we have some of the most uninspired, unprofessional, unappealing and sometimes, even appalling food packaging for a country so pre-occupied with food… The basic bottles, plastic containers, boxes, bags, etc. that are available are pretty limited. Custom made packages can be hard to find, and if at all possible, extremely expensive. Also, I find that as a consuming public, we don’t seem to give a damn, so the vendors don’t bother to improve their offerings. And the difference is apparent within hours of leaving our shores. During a brief stopover in Hong Kong, The Kid bounded off to get a baked goody to sustain her through the 15-16 hour flight to New York. She purchased this massive chocolate muffin with whole chunks of chocolate from Millie’s Cookies for about USD2.50 (nearly the same price of a midget cupcake at the most expensive bakery in Manila) and it came wrapped in this terrific bag, with printed napkins.

Not only was the paper bag visually and graphically attractive with its colorful and apack2eye catching design, it was of very good quality paper. And inside, it even had a waxed liner (a second layer) so that the fat or oils from the baked goods wouldn’t transfer to the paper bag and potentially soil one’s clothing. The liner also probably helps the baked goods retain moisture and prevent them from drying out quickly. The bag was also sealed with a sticker just to finish off the look. Now I know some places in Manila try to do a similar thing, but they are few and far between. It was just nice to get a pretty good cupcake (moist and flavorful) with large chunks of chocolate and presented in such an attractive bag. And this wasn’t an unusual experience during this recent trip. All over New York and New England, we came across clever, innovative and attractive packaging for ice creams, baked goods, fruit, candy, clothing, etc…


19 Responses

  1. Millie’s! This was my favorite cookie place when I was assigned in England for a year. We lived outside london then and everytime we go to london we’ll bring home lots of cookies from Millie’s. The muffin also looks scrumptious with all those blocks of chocolate…

  2. That muffin looks so guilty!!! I saw a Millie’s store while at Euston underground station in London but never bothered trying them. Now I know what I missed. LOL. I wanted to try the cornish pastie more than anything else and went for that instead, even though the blueberry muffin seems to have been calling my name. LOL.

  3. UK, they have of course the best fish and chips, scones and chicken pot pies. I visited Inverness 1997 to see the Loch Ness monster but what did I enjoyed most, the food!!!

  4. You’ve just described a sideline business you should undertake – food packaging (paper and plastic) with a graphics design bonus, if you’re inclined to start a 2nd or 3rd carreer. With your business background savvy, it will take off. Surely, if it’s start-up capital, you’re able to tap your former clients.

  5. I know of the packaging R&D arm of DOST makes whimsical packages such as the trapezoidal box of Bohol’s chocolate kisses.

    But then again, you’re right. They are few and far between. Cupcakes are usually wrapped in cellophane and then mummified with tape.

    In fairness, our good senator Lito Lapid has banned the use of staplers in food packaging so I think that’s a step forward (I know you can sense the sarcasm from afar).

  6. business people tend to cost cut in things like packaging, but i think we are slowly as in really slowly getting into that good sense of quality and style. . . but really custom made packaging is very expensive. . .

  7. I love Millies! When i lived in London last year, this was my fave! was actually the cheapest thing in London then, they had a promo 4.99 quid for 21 cookies..that’s 24pesos per cookie…Yummy! loved the white choco and raspberry and double choco chip cookies…truly value for money..very cute packaging indeed!….keep the NY posts coming…brings back place was a bit close to Payards before and I love the choco fondant of the occasional splurges in NY!….

  8. pinoy creativity and retail packaging are 2 concepts that have never crossed paths. i imagine if ever they did, they’d get off on the wrong foot and get lasting wrong impressions of one another. somehow these 2 mix the same way as oil and water. why is that??? i could come up with a list of leading retail brands with blahhh packaging but what’s the point… singapore and even thailand and indonesia are eons ahead of us in retail sophistication.

  9. Hi MM. Yes, food packaging here really has much to be desired but you must admit that we’re getting better at it lately. Most of the upscale bakeshops, pattiseries, and chocolate joints have better looking packaging now.

    As for cupcakes, we have a longer way to go. The cupcakes at Sonja’s are good but small. But, the appetites of pinoys are not nearly as large as that of our American counterparts.


  10. they have millie’s at the hk airport fastfood area. beside burger king and popeyes. i love their cookies!

  11. I have a friend who buy boxes of millies cookies everytime she visits UK. My family loves it too, though I must say it is a bit too sweet for my taste.

  12. Speaking of packaging, not too many filipinos know that roasted coffee, whole beans or ground, if not vacuum-packed, becomes stale in no time at all, even in unopened foil packs. Perhaps the reason most Filipinos buy instant coffee is because most of the local roasted coffees available in the supermarket shelves are not vacuum-packed and most likely already stale when bought.

    One problem with vacuum-packing of coffee is the gradual release of CO2 gas by fresh-roast coffee which can cause the bursting of sealed foil bag. An Italian guy thought of a solution to this problem by inventing a one-way valve which he attached to the foil bag. The valve allows the partial release of the natural gas graduaalyeleased by fresh-roast coffee but prevents the entry of outside gas which causes the oxidation and staling of coffee in ordinary bags. Starbucks and the like owe their existence to this Italian guy as without this invention, it would not have been possible to ship coffee roasted in Seattle to all corners of the world and keep them fresh.

    An exception to the sad state of coffee packaging in the Philippine is Benguet Gold Coffee which is vacuum-packed in foil bags with the one-way valve.It is available in some supermarkets

  13. Perhaps knowing that the the food will be purchased by Filipinos, they know that by cutting back on advertising and decoration they can make it more affordable to the average Filipino.

  14. Wait til you taste the Gourmet Cupcakes at I heard that they put 145% of their profits towards Unicorn Preservation and Research : )

  15. You are so right, MM! I’ve been in brand management for the past 10 years and have been exposed to a good number of “quality” packaging suppliers and yet, when I was thinking of setting up my own small food biz, I couldn’t push through all because I was unhappy with the kind of packaging materials that are affordable and available locally. : ( We have very good packaging designers — some can even outperform international designers (In fact, a number of well known international packaging design firms have Pinoys as their secret weapons!). The problem is the availability of really nice packaging materials (paper, paper cups, thin plastic, food grade materials). We don’t produce locally so everything is imported and expensive. Unfortunately, it’s the small entreps who are really keen on using quality materials so volume is not sufficient to command a lower price. Big food manufacturing companies opt to go for the cheaper alternatives just because they cater to the masses. Only very few big companies are willing to sacrifice margins for the sake of packaging. For now, I can only hope that China will be able to supply us with good packaging materials as they seem to have the capability to copy everything at a cheaper price. Hehe. Pardon the rant. I just love packaging and the lack of nice ones locally is a HUGE frustration. If you happen to stumble on a good and affordable supplier, let me know! Please. : (

  16. Where can fnd the top packagng companies in the Philippines who needs plastic materials like PET films?

    I will appreciate your information.

  17. Check out the packaging of foods in Japan. You’ll even have that great hesitation to throw it in the bin. They even have bird-shaped cakes complete with beaks and eyes packed into papers of good quality with folds resembling origami.

  18. good dAY,



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