Joselito D. Campos, Jr., or Butch as he is fondly called by family, friends and colleagues has taken one too many brave strides in his life. The first and pivotal step which set his course into the food and beverage industry was leaving the flourishing family business in pharmaceuticals and embarking on his own. He acquired and consolidated many smaller food companies in the 1990s and turned them into a US$330 million company under NutriAsia Inc. He acquired the Singapore-listed Del Monte Pacific Ltd (DMPL) in 2005. His boldest move was the acquisition of Del Monte in the United States two years ago for US$1.7 billion transforming DMPL into a global company. From a US$500 million turnover, DMPL quadrupled its sales. This took the world by surprise and made Filipinos proud – a Filipino company taking on the world in a milestone deal.
Campos obtained his Business Administration degree from the University of Santa Clara, California and his MBA from Cornell University in New York. He is the eldest son of the late Jose Yao Campos, a Filipino industrialist who founded United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab) in the Philippines, a leading manufacturer of pharmaceutical products in the Asian region, and larger than the multinationals in the Philippines. Campos worked at Unilab for close to 30 years, and was its Chairman and CEO for five years, helping build its strong leading presence as a major provider of healthcare goods and services in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam, among others.
Campos later transferred the reigns of Unilab to his sister and set out a new path for himself in food and beverage. NutriAsia started operations in 1991 when Campos acquired the Nelicom brand, a major condiments brand in North Luzon with a small manufacturing factory producing ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce. In the same year, the company merged with more leading household brands like Jufran and Mafran ketchup, Datu Puti, Papa Ketchup, and Mang Tomas Lechon Sauce following
Campos’s vision of offering all the Filipinos’ favourite sauce brands under one roof. 1996 was an important year for the company, with yet another acquisition, this time the number one local ketchup brand, UFC Tamis-Anghang Banana Ketchup.
NutriAsia entered into a joint venture with its first foreign partner, HJ Heinz of the US in 2000. This was a significant development as the company was able to learn new technologies and business processes that influenced the way NutriAsia does business until today. It parted amicably with Heinz in 2006 as Campos acquired Del Monte Pacific Limited, which owns the household brand Del Monte in the Philippines. DMPL was his first listed company acquisition, and DMPL is the first dual-listed company on the Singapore Exchange and the Philippine Stock Exchange.
NutriAsia’s team led by Campos perfectly blends the creativity and aggressiveness of young professionals with the mature wisdom of industry veterans to make up a highly experienced and dynamic management team. Over the years, it has built solid business fundamentals with its distribution, six factories, systems and network. The company’s revenues have already reached over US$300 million with strong cash flows, and its products are exported globally. It employs close to 5,000 people all over the Philippines. In 2014, NutriAsia acquired the leading soy sauce brand and the second leading vinegar brand in the Philippines, Silver Swan.
NutriAsia boasts a portfolio of iconic, market leading brands of condiments, sauces and cooking oil in the Philippines. It is number one with an 87% market share in the local vinegar market through the Datu Puti brand, number one with 86% for soy sauce, 77% for ketchup and 97% for roasted meat or lechon sauce through the Mang Tomas brand. NutriAsia also pioneered and grew the Philippine palm cooking oil market. Its brand, UFC Golden Fiesta, continues to be a category leader in supermarkets in the Philippines.
In a close bidding war in late 2005 with other strong bidders, Campos fought hard to gain ownership of Del Monte Pacific Ltd. Through NutriAsia, he currently controls 67% of DMPL and is the company’s CEO. DMPL is a prized business with 90 years of operations in the Philippines boasting the dominant Del Monte brand. It has leading market shares in canned pineapples and mixed fruits, canned and tetra ready-to-drink juices, tomato ketchup, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce with 50-90% market shares in most categories.
DMPL still is predominantly a producer and marketer of processed products. Given market trends for healthy eating and high demand for fresh fruits, Campos pushed for the development of the fresh pineapple business. Plantings of the sweeter MD2 pineapple variety were increased in 2009. From its humble beginnings, this business has grown to become a US$60 million business exporting the Philippine brand of sweet pineapples to Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and the Middle East under the S&W brand.
Under Campos’s leadership, DMPL promises health, wellness, superior value and innovation. The beverage portfolio in the Philippines offers juices with Green Coffee Extract and L-Carnitine proven to reduce body fat with diet and exercise; 100% Pineapple Juice HeartSmart with Reducol, a special blend of plant sterols and stanols that help lower bad cholesterol; and 100% Pineapple Juice BoneSmart, a calcium-fortified juice that has twice the level of calcium than a glass of milk, designed to provide the same benefits to lactose-intolerant consumers. DMPL brought the HeartSmart Pineapple Juice into the United Arab Emirates which won the Singapore Business Review Listed Companies Awards 2015 for Best Innovation.
In the US, Del Monte is pushing forward with a full range of non- GMO products and non-BPA packaging. It also launched Fruit in Cups for healthier snacking in the US. In India, Del Monte was one of the first to introduce a range of packaged dried fruits – prunes, cranberries and apricots. Other innovations include Eggless Mayonnaise and flavoured ones like Tandoori Mayo and Mint Mayo.
Camposbelievesthat“twoheadsarebetterthanone.”Hesurrounds himself with a talented management team to drive the company to its next stage of growth. Campos champions corporate governance, transparency and sustainability in DMPL. DMPL has won the prestigious Best Managed Board (Gold) Award twice from the Singapore Corporate Awards. The Del Monte Foundation, under his leadership, supported 375 scholars and served 30,000 patients through mobile clinics in over 40 remote communities around the plantations in the Philippines in the last fiscal year. He leads with kindness and empathy. He cares for his people’s well-being. Campos is also passionate about animals and the environment. He is a National Advisory Council Member of the World Wildlife Fund Philippines and a Director of the Philippines Eagle Society. He is a Trustee of the Philippines-China Business Council and the Philippines Center for Entrepreneurship.
DMPL is now a US$2.3 billion company with 12 factories in the USA, two in Mexico, one in Venezuela and an integrated pineapple operation in the Philippines. It is a large global operation with a loyal following of consumers. Similar to the Vision of DMPL, Campos dreams of “Nourishing Families. Enriching Lives. Every Day.” and will champion his 20,000 colleagues worldwide to realise this vision. “My father once told me, ‘nothing comes easy.’ Growing a business is much like growing an orchard. You need to sow good seeds and nurture them before you can harvest good fruits.”