No more bread? Company forced to limit production

Checkpoint restrictions affecting its workforce have forced Gardenia Bakeries, the largest bread manufacturer in the country, to cut down on production and leave shelves after shelves empty in most grocery stores in Luzon, which is under a monthlong “enhanced community quarantine” to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a phone interview with Inquirer, Gardenia marketing and sales manager Nestor Constancia said the firm could not keep up with demand.

“We are not even at 50 percent of our capability. Maybe just 40 percent. We continue to have problems with people reporting [for work],” he said.

First coronavirus case

The bread maker’s factory is located in the town of Biñan, Laguna, which imposed a lockdown after recording its first COVID-19 case this week.

Constancia said Biñan particularly barred the entry of people coming from neighboring Sta. Rosa, where most of Gardenia’s workers live. This was after Sta. Rosa also reported cases of coronavirus infections.

If operating in full capacity, the Laguna plant can make 650,000 loaves and buns every day. Constancia said the plant produces for the Metro Manila and Southern Luzon markets.

He said other bread factories in the country had experienced similar manpower constraints.

Constancia said the company continued to deliver to supermarkets but “the [products are] easily sold out.”