Who says that all convenient food items — those in cans, bottles or jars — are bad for the health because they are loaded with preservatives? These days, “convenient” can mean “healthy” when it makes use of premium ingredients and is prepared the healthy way.
Jacob’s Gourmet Foods is set to change the old mindset with its range of 100 percent organic and natural food products in jars, and they contain no artificial preservatives. Owners also display zero tolerance for extenders. A connoisseur of good food in a jar, it defines good food as healthy food alternatives that help improve the quality of life for people who partake of it.
Its Garlic Chili, for one, uses 100 percent organic extra virgin olive oil with siling labuyo, garlic, vinegar, organic raw honey, and eight herbs and spices. So, dipping siomai in it becomes guilt-free even if you double dip and roll the delicious morsel in oil. The Whole Tuyo and the Boneless Tuyo Flakes are likewise cooked in extra virgin olive oil along with organic herbs and spices so they do not only taste good, they are also good for the health.
“We are the first in the market to use 100 percent natural and USDA-certified organic ingredients in all our products. We observe the natural process of preserving gourmet foods in jars. We don’t use preservatives or MSG (monosodium glutamate). We only use extra virgin olive oil in all cooked products, and we don’t add any extenders. What we do is bring you Philippine made products that you can be proud of because they are a healthier choice, a value-for-money alternative to what we have in the market,” explains chef Irene De la Cruz-Herrero, the brains behind Jacob’s Gourmet Foods.
With chef Marcelo De la Cruz, who served as executive chef of The Manila Hotel for 22 years, as her dad, De la Cruz-Herrero grew up with a discerning palate and a very deep passion for cooking.
These inspired her to put up Jacob’s Gourmet Foods, naming the food processing business after her youngest son, Jacob, in 2015. Since she came from a family with a diabetic predisposition, she knew the direction that she wanted to take — produce good, healthy food in jars and inspire more people to eat healthy. This meant natural and organic products which are free from chemicals that did not harm Mother Earth and would not pose any health risks on the people who eat them.
So, De la Cruz-Herrero developed the products, treating each product with great care and subjecting it to five stages of sterilization — from pre-packaging to cooking to actual packaging and delivery. All products undergo thermal sterilization, which is a sterilization process usually accomplished by heating products rapidly to 130 to 145˚C, holding for an appropriate time, and then rapidly cooling them.
To make sure that the products are free from any contamination and from bacteria and viruses causing food-borne diseases, they also go through a microbiological membrane filter system that monitors contaminants in liquid samples of bottled products to make sure that no bacteria or virus is present during production, all the way to sterilization and disinfection on packaging as well as sealing and leak test disinfection before the products are delivered.
De la Cruz-Herrero is also backed up by Jacob’s Gourmet Foods’ own nutritionist and dietitian, plus a research and development team, who guide her in choosing healthy ingredients sourced from local organic farmers, cooperatives and social enterprises.
The signature product of Jacob’s Gourmet Foods is Whole Tuyo in Classic, Sweet & Spicy, and The Bomb variants. The Whole Tuyo is actually the first product developed in 2015, and it continues to command a good following because it is good in salads as well as on pasta. Just assemble a fresh green salad and top with Whole Tuyo, or cook pasta according to package directions and mix in the Whole Tuyo and you have instant aglio olio tuyo pasta.
It can also be used as topping for canapes, or as a sandwich filling with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cucumber. But then again, you can have it plain and simple with steamed rice or garlic rice and fried egg, and you’ve got a totally satisfying all-day breakfast fare. Its versatility has made the Whole Tuyo the company’s top-selling product all these years.
Out of the 27 products that Jacob’s Gourmet Foods now produces, the 10 best-sellers, aside from Whole Tuyo, are Boneless Tuyo Flakes, Special Bagoong Bagnet, Garlic Chili, Sukang Masarap, Sukang Sinamak, Italian Pepperoni Sauce, Crispy Dilis and Creamy Tuna Pesto.
If you’re intrigued by the product called Sukang Masarap, it is organic Tagalog vinegar, fermented with garlic, onion, ginger and natural organic honey for 150 days. It is best for dips and can be mixed with any dish to bring out its bold sweet-sour flavor. And Special Bagoong Bagnet? It is best for green mango, pinakbet, kare-kare, steamed vegetables and pork binagoongan.
All these products come with nutrition fact sheets to help consumers make informed decisions on their food purchases by knowing exactly which products contain low calories, less saturated fats and low carbohydrates, among others. It also helps consumers develop healthier eating habits and attain balanced energy levels.
Jacob’s Gourmet Foods sells their products online. They also supply S&R Membership Shopping (all branches), Real Foods PH in Molito Alabang and BGC, Good Mood Grocer in White Plains Quezon City, and Balesin Bounty Shop in Balesin Island, Polillo, Quezon. Nationwide distribution is handled by 28 exclusive distributors and 57 authorized resellers under these distributors.
The company now exports to all Southeast Asian countries (Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia) and China, and has started making their presence felt in Japan, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and some parts of Europe.
To order, send a message through their Facebook and Instagram pages.