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KM Foods: Small Firm Is Tuna Innovator

The small business KM Foods has proven why it could reap several recognitions in the food processing industry, not only in the local community but also in the national level.
KM Foods produces tuna value-added products, such as tuna chorizo, embotido, tocino, siomai, shanghai rolls, nuggets, bola-bola, and others.

It is a 100 percent family-ran business managed by Ramon Gabaldon and Belma Gabaldon, who stands as finance officer.

From its humble beginnings, Ramon and Belma never expected that their business could bring a big impact to the community not only by creating livelihood for residents of General Santos City, but also inspiring young entrepreneurs to pursue the passion of engaging into any kind of business.

The birth of the company “accidentally” happened when the couple brought their manufactured tuna value-added products during a family gathering at the house of Ramon's sister.

“It was not intended for business. We just produced it for household consumption. But right after that event, by word of mouth, we were forced to produce more because there were orders from family and friends. We only had three varieties that time -- tuna chorizo, embotido, and tuna tocino. Now, we already have nine varieties to choose from,”  Ramon said.

Eventually, KM Foods’ products entered a wider market through the family’s small sari-sari store.

Before engaging in the business, which officially started in January 2004, Ramon tried his luck abroad for two years. When he was working as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Papua New Guinea, his wife started selling tuna value-added products from an existing producer.

“When I came back here, I observed that most of the tuna value-added products in Gensan are almost the same in processing as well as its taste. For example, tuna chorizo is used as a filling for tuna shanghai rolls, tuna siomai, and even tuna embotido has the same taste with these products. I told my wife we will make our own product. The story began there and the rest is history,” Ramon said.

A year after launching KM Foods, the company produced four more products -- tuna shanghai rolls, tuna nuggets, tuna siomai, and tuna bola-bola. Ramon said more products are to be produced soon.

KM Foods believes that its products found a bigger market because of the products’ quality.
“We have a few variants but we can assure our clients that when we say tuna, it’s really tuna,” he said, adding that KM Foods’ products are MSG-free. All of its products also have no preservatives. Its shelf life could reach up to six months when frozen.

KM Foods have won several notorious national awards for its tuna value-added products. Awarded as the product innovator and emerging entrepreneur of Yaman Awards in 2008, one of the highlights of Yaman Gensan, which recognizes micro, small and medium enterprises in this city, KM Foods Inc. is chosen anew as one of the finalists for this year’s Yaman Awards.