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June 27, 2017 by Angelo G. Garcia

Seafood distributor turns 20, eyes own retail shop.

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MANILA – This is probably the best time to be in food business, whether in production, distribution, or food service. This is due to the fact that in recent years, the local food industry has been growing steadily and consumption is at an all-time high.


A clear proof of this growth is the restaurants. International and local eateries are sprouting like mushrooms in the metro to the delight of hungry foodies and businessmen.

This is good news for suppliers of raw food ingredients like Mida Food, a distributor of premium fresh and frozen seafood.

“The growth has been amazing. It’s incredible. Not just because there are a lot of restaurants, but it’s the types of restaurants opening up. The average ticket price has also gone up so people are willing to pay for food and they’re more adventurous also. That’s also why the food industry has been so successful in recent years. We pride ourselves as having the largest variety of seafood,” said Mida president and CEO Enrique Valles.

The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the seafood industry. Mida is more known for its retail brand Pacific Bay, but majority of its business is still in seafood distribution. Some of its products include tuna, softshell crab, king crab, snow crab, salmon, lobster, shrimp, scallops, squid, octopus, bacalao, halibut, dory and cod.

Among its clients are fast food chains like Wendy’s, Tokyo Tokyo and Shakey’s, as well as high-end hotels and restaurants like Gallery Vask. It also supplies casual grilleries or ihaw-ihaw, which actually are Mida Food’s first customers.

Originally, Mida was a trading company that acted as agent for buyers of seafood, looking for suppliers abroad. In 1997, Mida had the opportunity of buying off cuts or byproducts of seafood in Indonesia like tuna jaw and tail, which happen to be items that Filipinos eat and serve at restaurants.

They first looked for a distributor to handle the job, but there was none at the time. So, they decided to distribute the seafood products themselves. The first batch was especially flown from Indonesia and sold to local grilleries.

“From all of those grilleries we realized there was a much broader market that we can do business with. So we started bringing in a large selection of seafood, like salmon, sea bass, high-end halibut. At that point in the Philippines, hotels were growing and people’s palates were getting more complex so it was a good time for us to enter. So volumes were moving, we started dealing a lot with hotels, high-end caterers. We became known as a supplier of all these high-end goods,” Valles said.

The company sources its seafood locally and internationally. Most shrimp products are sourced from the Visayas while its fastest moving product, the fresh salmon, comes all the way from Norway and Chile.


To celebrate its success in the business, Mida held a special luncheon at Gallery Vask with an all-seafood menu prepared by none other than chef Chele Gonzalez. The special lunch showcased the products of Mida Food, from halibut to shrimp to lobster.

The pass-around canapes were simple yet flavorful like the seared hamachi and the king crab meat with hollandaise sauce on crunchy brioche bread.

The first course was a small plate of aromatic tuna tartare with avocado and cilantro. It was followed by a playful and fresh second course, grilled tiger prawns with strawberry and watermelon gazpacho. The tiger prawns were cut into segments and slices of Iberico, and strawberry were placed in between the segments.

The third course was a delicate and flaky pan-fried halibut that was served with pork ragout and crispy Iberico ham chips. This was followed by a squid ink seafood risotto with pan seared scallops, steamed lobster tail and claw, asparagus ribbons and crispy parmesan tuiles.

The lunch ended with a fitting dessert — different textures of calamansi. It had various components like crumbled calamansi cake, calamansi ice cream and calamansi mousse. The tangy and citrusy dessert was refreshing and cleared the palate of any briny taste.

Although Mida already has its salmon bar at Marketplace by Rustan’s where it sells its fresh premium fish, the vision is to have an own retail store in the future. And according to Valles, they plan to expand their existing processing plant in Malate and cold storage facility in Pasig.

“We have a big retail vision. At some point we want to explore a brick and mortar retail store sort of like Santi’s but for seafood, like a high-end fishmonger. Half of that space we want to have dining involved. We also want to be fully integrated and we know the processing plant we currently operate in Malate is far too small for our requirements. We’re looking for a place, just at the outskirts of Metro Manila to scale up our operations to better serve our customers,” he explained.



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