Producer Spotlight: The Franklin Baker Company
Meet the Largest Coconut Processor in the Philippines
The Franklin Baker Company was established at the end of the 19th century in the United States. Its founder, Mr. Franklin Baker Sr., was originally a flour miller in Pennsylvania. He got involved in the coconut trade when he received a boatload of fresh coconuts as payment from a Cuban merchant for flour he had shipped to Cuba. To make a long story short, this payment in coconuts entirely shifted the direction of Mr. Baker’s entrepreneurial endeavors, leading him to abandon his flour business entirely and focus exclusively on coconut-based products.
In 1922, after several years of production in the U.S., Mr. Baker and his son (Franklin Baker, Jr.) set up the Philippine Food Company, which four years later became the Franklin Baker Company. Today the company is one of the largest global suppliers of desiccated coconut products, with plants located in the Philippines at San Pablo, Laguna and Davao, Mindanao.
The company’s origin story reveals how a seemingly insignificant transaction re-shaped the life and business of one man and his family, popularized coconut-based products in the U.S. and in so doing, essentially created a previously non-existent market.
This in turn had an impact on the coconut/agriculture industry in the Philippines, positively affecting the country’s economy with long-term benefits at every level.
The Franklin Baker Company is driven by its mission to continue expanding from being the gold standard producer of desiccated coconut into higher-value food products. Its current product list includes a range of coconut-based ingredients (coconut flour, sugar, water, and virgin coconut oil) that customers use in pastries, cakes, confectionary, beverages, ice cream, cereals, food coatings, entrees, and much more. The company’s many products are shipped to over 50 countries worldwide across the U.S., South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.
In 2015, The Franklin Baker Company became the first food ingredient producer to receive certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), the most comprehensive and ambitious biomaterials sustainability certification program in the world:
“The strength of RSB for Franklin Baker is that not only does it recognize sustainability and ethical practices, but also covers areas of global concern such as labor rights, rural development, conservation and the environment. Attention to these operating principles is not only a desired way to run a business, but also reinforces our other CSR activities in the local communities and raises our credibility status with increasingly discerning global customers. We are proud to join the elite group of companies that have achieved RSB certification.”
— Franklin Baker’s President and CEO