When I got an invite to visit the Gardenia Bread Factory a couple of weeks ago, I made sure I cleared my schedule to be able to go. We only buy Gardenia’s Classic White bread for our daily breakfasts and snacks.
All the invitees met up in Makati for our trip to the plant located in Maplasan, Laguna.We were warmly greeted upon our arrival and I was quite surprised to see quite a number of people also taking their tours, mostly students.
I was quite excited to get the tour started but we first some background about how Gardenia started in the Philippines.
Gardenia started retail operations back in 1999 when it shipped out its first batch of freshly made breads. It initially encountered some difficulties at retail outlets because of its innovative display strategies as well as their insistence on replacing the two day old bread with new ones at no cost. That’s all in the past, as consumers and retailers alike have embraced the brand and propelled it to the top spot in the Philippine market.
We toured the most advanced, fully automated bread factory in the Philippines, able to produce 6,000 loaves of bread an hour, in this case the Classic White bread. They also have two more lines but they are slightly less state of the art than this one, able to produce 4,000 and 2,000 loaves respectively. In total, Gardenia can produce 12,000 loaves of bread an hour, mind boggling if you start to think about it.
The dough mixture is made without any human contact, the people stationed don the factory floor are just there to removed reject products and perform maintenance.
Each loaf container has four dough balls that are used to facilitate the rising of the bread, covered and enter the tunnel oven, which is of German technology.
The freshly baked loaf are then moved to the Japanese made bread cooling towers which is made from Samurai steel, yes the same material they used for the swords. The steel has great heat dissipation that allows faster cooling of the bread. The cooling tower has a minimum of barriers allowing people to view the magnificent sight which also helps cool the bread aside form the visual impact. The conveyors are moved using rollers which are virtually noiseless and uses lots lets energy than the previous one they’ve had.
The cooled bread are the sliced, packaged and then sealed using the unique G-Lock system, which assigns a particular color to a certain days production, allowing consumers to easily know the breads freshness.
After packaging, the finished products are then sent to the distribution center for loading into their fleet of 150 trucks.
After the tour, we were able to taste some unsliced freshly baked classic white bread. There’s really nothing like freshly baked bread, it was pillowy soft and was quite warm even after sitting there for a while.
We even got to taste some interesting sandwich creations using Gardenia breads, and most surprising of all, even dessert. Recipes can be found in their website – www.gardenia.com.ph
I really had a grand time touring the Gardenia Bread Factory and even found out they had a mascot named Gardee. This is a great field trip site for kids of all ages, for inquiries you can call 889.8890.
Star Avenue, Laguna Int’l Industrial Park
Mamplasan, Binan, Laguna
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