Seasonals by WTH Foods
Elimination of food waste for a food secure Central Luzon and Calabarzon
Pitch video of Seasonals by WTH Foods
Logo of Seasonals by WTH Foods
Lead Applicant Organization Name
WTH Foods Pte Ltd
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Makati, Metro Manila
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Central Luzon and Calabarzon
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I was born and raised in this region and the food system of Metro Manila depends on this region. Due to its close proximity to Metro Manila, the regions still supply a great amount of staple food, such as rice, coffee, tropical fruits, vegetables and livestock. Our small food manufacturing company is located in the locality.
Despite the wealth of Metro Manila, which is located at the center of the region, many people remain poor and undernourished. Natural calamities always strike this region. Nutritious, accessible food is always lacking. I wish to have a bigger impact in our Place.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
This is a promotional tourism video of Luzon. It is a good representation of the Place
Central Luzon is the region north of Metro Manila (Philippine capital), while Calabarzon is the region east and south of Metro Manila. Central Luzon is called the Rice Granary of the Philippines, as it has the largest plain and is the top producer of rice. Calabarzon is formerly known as Southern Tagalog Mainland, and is composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon. Hence, the combined name of Calabarzon. The combined population of both regions is 25 million, excluding Metro Manila's 13 million inhabitants.
The area is known for its delicious regional cuisines. Given that 80 percent of the population is Catholic, there are not many food restrictions. Rice, fruits, vegetables, fish and pork are featured in many dishes of the region.
Due to rapid urbanization in the last 20 years, 60-65% of the population now lives in urban areas. As a Catholic nation, Filipinos are generally conservative, yet the younger generations are more exposed to Western culture, thanks to social media. It is also home to several indigenous groups, such as Aetas and Dumagats, who live in mountainous areas.
The region is prone to natural disasters annually, such as typhoons, monsoon rain and volcanic eruptions (Mt Pinatubo and Taal Volcano). Every year, millions of people are displaced, evacuated or relocated due to the natural disasters. This disrupts their food supply and diets. However, farmers in the area also suffer from bumper harvests that are underutilized. Annually some 13 million tons of crops fail to reach consumers in the Philippines.
From this region alone, one could already see the nutritional paradox. There are enough food to feed the population, yet thousands of families still go hungry every year.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The rapid growth of population in the region is already straining the food system now (2020) and will continue to strain the food system in 2050. As the economy continues to grow, a rapidly growing middle-class population is presenting several problems. Meat consumption is on the rise. People are following a more Western diet, heavy on processed food and imported ingredients. With the advent of food delivery services, more packaging goes to waste and harms the environment.
Environmental degradation is occurring at an unprecedented rate as rapid, unplanned urbanization is eating into forestlands, threatening water catchment areas and local flora & fauna. The need for more food is also leading to clearing of forests. Additionally the Philippines and the Place is prone to natural disasters as it sits on the Pacific Ocean Typhoon Belt, as well as the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Philippines experiences more than 20 typhoons annually, and has 25 active volcanoes. Two of which are found in Central Luzon (Pinatubo) and Calabarzon (Taal).
Despite technological and economic progress, local farmers and fisherfolks are left behind. They are one of the poorest sectors of society. They are averse to using technology in agriculture. This partly stems from unequal economic opportunities, lack of education, as well as a backward culture. The problems that arise from this lack of technology use include heavy post-harvest losses, imbalance in supply and demand, and annual losses during natural calamities.
The local government has not shown a strong will to protect food systems. The different government agencies dealing with agriculture and trade have conflicting policies. The recent Rice Tariffication Law has gravely hurt the livelihood of rice farmers as imported rice flooded the market. Corruption and incompetence down to the local level are observed during national calamities, when government asks for private donations, despite having calamity budgets in the millions of dollars.
Ultimately, this rapid growth in population will strain the food systems in decades to come. People are living more and more in areas that will be hit by natural disasters. Farmers are not meeting demand adequately, and are themselves suffering economically. The growing middle-class is consuming more and more unwholesome, processed food. Lastly, the government couldn't care less.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Our team believes that the private sector will lead in addressing these challenges. A robust food system should not be politicized, inefficient and ineffective.
WTH Foods is a small plant-based food innovation company based in Manila, Philippines. We believe that plant-based food is key to a more food secure future. It is not only healthier for the population, but also strains the environment less, compared to animal agriculture.
One of our proposed solutions is Seasonals by the WTH Foods. Seasonals will help farmers valorize bumper crops by processing, packaging and marketing the seasonal produce immediately and effectively. Our proposed solution is both a packaging innovation, as well as business model innovation.
Our team is made up of a food tech, R&D chef, and business people. Our production staff is trained to use seasonal and bumper crops to produce delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes, such as soups and fruit cups. These are then packaged to effectively extend shelf life beyond one year.
As for our business model innovation, we will procure surplus crops directly from farms, process and package immediately in our facility, and sell to private customers using a one-for-one business model, wherein the buyer purchases one case and chooses an institution (charity, government agency, or NGO) to receive the other case. Victims of natural disasters will especially benefit from these ready-to-eat, nutritious packaged food.
SEASONALS will be the first business model of its kind in the Philippines. We believe it is the most efficient and effective way to absorb large excess agricultural surplus and eliminate food waste from the source and contribute to a larger circular economy.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Our team envisions a Place and People that is food secure as it pushes forward into the future. The food system of the Place is regenerative and nourishing. Farmlands are efficient; farmers are wealthy. The whole population is fed with nutrient dense food. Forests are preserved and can be enjoyed by everyone in the Place. Natural disasters are a thing in the past as the People do not have to live in dangerous areas for their food and livelihood. Regardless of economic status, every single Person has access to wholesome, nutritious food.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Mangoes are an example of seasonal crop that spoils fast. Tons of good mangoes go to waste when the market is unable to absorb the supply.
By 2050, the Philippines will be one of the largest economies in the world. Our team envisions a Place and People that is food secure as it progresses into the future. We believe that the biodiverse Place of Central Luzon & Calabarzon has enough food resources to sustain its People in 2050. This is a Place where no People should go hungry.
In order to achieve this Vision, we believe the first step is reducing food waste from the source. As the world embraces Philippine cuisine, Filipinos will be more proud than ever of our dishes. Farmers will not be forced to plant monoculture crops, but are encouraged to plant local food plant species. Through advancements in packaging technologies, these seasonal crops can be processed deliciously with long shelf lives. Farmers will embrace seasonality of harvest and not fear it.
The People, especially victims of natural disasters, shall have dignity in their food. Disaster relief food is no longer restricted to unwholesome canned sardines and instant noodles. Canned foods will no longer be filled with unsafe preservatives and overflowing with sodium. Everyone will be able to enjoy delicious and nutritious, ready-to-eat packaged plant-based food, which suits their tastes and nutrient requirements.
The indigenous People of the Place are able to continue their traditional way of life. The Aetas of Zambales Province and Dumagats of Rizal Province retain their ancestral domains, as they are not threatened by urban crawl and deforestation. Current farmlands are adequate because food waste is eliminated and the food system is regenerative and nourishing.
Ultimately, we envision a Place where food is accessible to everyone. In 2020 People spend more than 40% of their income to buy food. In 2050 there will be accessible nutritious food for every Person in the Place, regardless of socioeconomic status. Poverty is not a reason to go hungry.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?