What started out as a hobby for a businessman turned into a passion to offer healthier snack choices to Filipinos. The star of his brand’s products—the humble but nutritious malunggay.

 Because the malunggay is present in many Filipino backyards, it is often overlooked. But not by Orich Food and Beverages’ CEO and Head of Product Development Mike Atayde. While he started his venture as a commodities trader, he soon dabbled into making juices. It began as a hobby for him, but the challenge to offer healthier options to Filipinos got him hooked and opened his eyes to the wonders of malunggay and other Philippine herbs. 

“In 2008, we saw that there’s a growing trend for healthier, functional beverages. We found our niche. I thought we should highlight the best, nutritional ingredients in the Philippines and incorporate them in our beverages,” Mike shares. 

The following year, his brand Healthy Tropics entered into a partnership with Kultura, which challenged him to come up with a full line of juices with malunggay. 

 “That time, there was no beverages yet of that kind at Kultura. We started developing Healthy Tropics juices all with malunggay on the encouragement of Kultura. They’re very much instrumental in our kick-start,” recounts Mike, who is now dubbed as SM’s “Malunggay King.” 

Known as a good source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, malunggay is present in a throng of Healthy Tropics products such as the malunggay iced tea, the malunggay orange juice, and mango juice with moringa. 

Aside from malunggay, Healthy Tropics also features other local herbs in their products like the soursop (guyabano) leaf tea, ginger tea, and mangosteen coffee, among many others. As it expanded its line of juices, Healthy Tropics also shifted from artificial sweeteners to locally-grown and -processed stevia, making for an even healthier choice. 

 “We introduced a lot of innovative things to our products. Almost all the ingredients we use are parts of the tree. We want to highlight that a lot of these things we see, have all these nutrient values that are beneficial for our overall health,” Mike says. 

Healthy Tropics snacks and juices are available in Kultura stores located inside the SM Malls. You may also order Healthy Tropics and other uniquely Filipino products online at www.kulturafilipino.com

For more than 60 years, SM, and its affiliate brands like Kultura, has been home to thousands of MSMEs. As SM grew, so did its MSME partners. From those years of partnership, SM and MSMEs once again stand together to build back stronger.