By: Jocelyn Valle
A giant multinational food conglomerate exhorts everyone to keep fit.
Back in 1990, recalls Nestle Philippines, Inc. (NPI) Chairman and CEO John Martin Miller, he never saw any overweight person in Southeast Asia. At that time, the Englishman had just moved from the Middle East, where he worked for another company.
"Now, (obesity) is a growing problem," he laments, believing that it's been caused by the less healthy aspects of the Western diet that has crept into the eating habits of Asians. "This is why nutrition and wellness is very important to us (at Nestle). We want to help people to live a healthy lifestyle so people don't get obese and get diabetic.
The consumer-goods manufacturing giant has found an effective tool in accomplishing this goal in its annual campaign, I Choose Wellness Expo, which this year took place on July 3 and 4 at SM Megamall.
Celebrity Recipes plus Lifestyle attended the opening and experienced the overwhelmingly positive response of the public. For starters, long lines already formed outside the venue's entrance even before the event started at 10 a.m. And while inside, they eagerly checked out the booths that either rendered healthcare services like a free cholesterol check, hosted fun games or handed out samples of Nestle products. Never mind if they had to inch their way across the thick crowd to their next stop and stand in line each time they get there, achieving wellness was the rule of the day.
"So I think that's a big change that's taking place now," exclaims the NPI's head over lunch, after he cut the ceremonial ribbon and gave the opening remarks. "I think people have certainly become conscious of the need to lead healthy lifestyles."
In essence, it's just like going back to our gastronomic roots. Filipinos, Mr.Miller has observed, share the tradition of going to the wet market every morning to get the freshest produce with those from neighboring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. It is also one activity that he enjoys doing with his wife, who's Malaysian of Cantonese lineage.
"Food is not only about nutrition; it's about the family, it's about the commonalities. People come together around the table. This is why food marketing is so basic," he states, adding that he's aware of the merienda culture in the country that has made easting five times a day the norm. "In England, we always talk about the weather. Here, people always say, 'Have you eaten yet?'"
It was small wonder then that the cooking demos were a huge hit at the expo. One of our columnists, Chef Tess Galang Sutilo, (she writes 'Hits') shared a couple of easy-to-prepare recipes like fresh fruits in cinnamon pandan sugar syrup and multi-layered dip.
Mr.Miller shares that Nestle products like Maggi Magic Sarap work in harmony with fresh produce that Filipinos are accustomed to find in the wet market. He also expresses amazement at how Milo, Nescafe and Nestea have become a big part of every Pinoy's day-to-day life since the global conglomerate entered the local market 99 years ago.
And Nestle makes its presence here even stronger by investing P4.3 billion over two years for a new factory to be built on a 27-hectare site in Tanauan, Batangas. It will not only serve its purpose of producing Coffee-mate non-dairy creamer and Bear Brand powdered milk drink but it will also create much-needed jobs. Now, that promises wellness for a lot of lives here.
Below is an exciting recipe from Chef Tess of the Julius Maggi Kichen.
FRESH FRUITS IN CINNAMON PANDAN SUGAR SYRUP
1 cup water
2 pcs. pandan leaves tied in a knot
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup bottled cherries, drained, sliced into halves
1 pc. red apple, skin on & cube
1 pc. pear, skin pn & cube
1/2 cup green seedless grapes
1/2 cup red seedless grapes
1 (250mg) Nestle all purpose cream, chilled
cashew nuts, coarsely crushed
Make pandan syrup by boiling pandan leaves in water with sugar. Boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. In a bowl,combine all fruits and toss into the pandan syrup. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Line individual containers with crushed cashew nuts. Scoop fruit mixture on top of fruits. Top with a dollop of cream and dust with cinnamon powder before serving.
SOURCE: Celebrity Recipes plus Lifestyle (September-October Issue)