LEARNINGS FROM MY TRIP TO THE CERELAC FARM & FACTORY

When I posted about our trip to Indonesia and to the Cerelac farm, I was surprised to know that moms were thankful with the info I shared! Since there were so many details I didn’t get to talk about, I thought it would be best to share all the details here on my blog.

But first, let me share how we found ourselves in Indonesia visiting the Cerelac farms and factories.

When Cerelac first partnered with us, I was so amazed with what the team had to share that I even joked, “sana meron naring farm tour!” and to my surprise, the Cerelac team was all for it too – I mean, there was so much I wanted to learn about the whole process of where Cerelac comes from especially since P loves it!

Layover in Singapore before we headed to Yogyakarta!

Little did I know, their farms are in Indonesia! Haha, I thought it was just a drive away! The day trip I had in mind quickly turned into almost a weeklong visit to Indonesia to see just how Cerelac is really made. Now, allow me to do a rundown of what I learned during that trip.

Real rice as an ingredient. This was so satisfying to watch.

REAL INGREDIENTS TURNED INTO CERELAC

Just like many parents, I’m curious to know just how much “real ingredients” are in the food our babies eat and Cerelac is no exception. It was one thing for the Cerelac team to talk about it and another for me to see it with my own eyes. I was pleasantly surprised to see hundreds of sacks of real red rice in the factory! They gave us a tour starting with the ingredients up until the finished product and it was amazing to see real ingredients like rice get turned into ready-to-make Cerelac!

FORTIFIED WITH VITAMINS

Did you know that junk food actually has a very low nutritional value? I learned that aside from using real ingredients, all Cerelac products are fortified with vitamins like Iron, Zinc, and Vitamin A, too! When I was a new mom, I learned that iron deficiency is a serious threat most especially for infants. Aside from giving your child food that is rich in iron (like malunggay, spinach, and other leafy greens), giving food fortified with iron is a great additional step, too!

Me with Ibu Kasih Yati, one of Cerelac’s farmers whom I had the pleasure to interview!

TOP QUALITY SOIL AND SEEDS

This, perhaps, is my favorite learning during the trip. I was wondering why we had to fly to both Yogyakarta and Karawang during the trip. Apparently, Nestle’s farm is far from their main factory. Why? Because they’ve scouted all over Indonesia and found Yogyakarta’s soil to be the best in terms of quality. If I remember correctly, their possible partners first send samples of their soil, then these are reviewed, and only farmers with soil high in quality get to be their partner farmers.

What does high quality actually mean? It means that they have standards in ensuring the soil is baby-grade or fit for babies – healthy, chemical-free, no/very minimal pests, and not polluted – hence the reason they chose areas far from big and very urban cities!

Even more amazing is the fact that they even provide the seeds to their partner farmers! I wondered about this because it is a usual concern for farmers — to have to fork up for the seeds, then hopefully reap what they sow. I felt really happy for the farmers upon learning that they don’t even have to worry about that!

Here, it was being explained to me how the green light means the packaged product is safe, and that when it turns red, it means something sharp like metal may have gone inside so it goes to the discarded section.

SAFETY IS TOP PRIORITY

From the Cerelac farm, my next stop was the Cerelac factory where they turn the real ingredients into infant cereals and Nutripuffs. This part of my trip truly wowed me because I found out that the Cerelac boxes go through a detector before being approved for dispatching –   really ensuring the safety of the products we feed our babies.

My little family exploring one of Cerelac’s farms. No smell and very clean! MTE Approved!

COMPANION PLANTING FOR PEST CONTROL

Another cool thing I learned during our visit is that Nestle is really careful with how Cerelac farmers manage pests. First, they place physical traps. Then if that doesn’t work anymore, they do companion planting — they grow plants like turmeric and ginger to naturally drive away the pests at the farm. Amazing!

SIMPLE & RELIABLE DRYING PROCESS

We have this tendency to think that when something has a long shelf life, it’s automatically because of unhealthy preservatives. They explained how they do this during the tour and it’s quite simple — they take out the water (dry the goods) and keep a certain kind of moisture where bacteria cannot grow. Come to think of it, that’s what we do with our homemade herbs and spices — we make sure the containers are very dry to avoid moisture and they last really long without any preservatives, too! It is possible!

PRODUCTS CONSISTENTLY TESTED

Another really cool thing I saw at the factory? The testing room! The testing or applications group of Cerelac is made up of people in lab gowns whose main job is to taste all day! They simulate recipes and do the trials before mass production, and they also make sure that there’s consistency in the existing products, too. How cool is that for a job? Sidenote: Even the Cerelac brand managers are required to do tasting for their products!

With all that said, I finally got to share just some of the many wonderful things I learned during the trip. If you’re interested to know more, you can also watch this video of our Indonesia trip!

Hope you learned new things today, too!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Cerelac family for such a wonderful and insightful trip. I had fun visiting the factories, while my son enjoyed exploring the farm — and I love how we also got to see bits of Indonesia through this trip! Thank you to our photographer Dino Dimar for taking photos for us, too!

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