AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corporation conquers the EU market

15 January 2024
ITC News

A look at how Philippines Virgin Coconut Oil is gaining recognition the world over.

AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corporation is not just another name in the food and cosmetics industry. Winner of the Best Coconut Industry MSME during the World Coconut Awards 2022, presented by the International Coconut Community (ICC), it symbolizes Filipino pride, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to quality, organic, and fairtrade practices.

The origin story

Antonino N. Geniston, General Manager, is the brains and spirit behind AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corporation supported by his younger sister Lucila N. Geniston, Chemical Engineer and the Operations Manager of the company.

The company is a 100% Filipino-owned entity, situated in the southern part of Mindanao, which began operations in 2006 with only six employees.

It was in 2005 when Antonino Geniston, a chemical engineer, stumbled upon the remarkable benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) in combatting the flu. This discovery inspired him to investigate further, given his history as a long-time sufferer from the illness.

Remarkably, treatment with the oil led to a complete recovery. This revelation sparked the idea that VCO could not only boost personal health, but also uplift the Philippines' coconut industry by adding value to coconut products, which historically centered around copra production.

When the opportunity arose to establish a family-owned corporation, his sister Lucila accepted the challenge wholeheartedly. Despite her rewarding career in a multinational company, she believed that running a coconut processing business would be deeply fulfilling. Full financial support for the venture came from Mason Ang, the president of the company, who had unwavering faith in the project.

On July 18, 2005, AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corp. was officially registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Production of its flagship product, fresh-centrifuged Virgin Coconut Oil commenced in January 2006, initially with just five employees. The factory was strategically located in Padada, Davao del Sur, owing to its abundant coconut supply.

Their product line includes coconut products for food, such as fresh-centrifuged virgin coconut oil, coco crisps, coco cacao chips, coco coffee chips, coco cacao banana chips, cocobanana chips with cacao nibs and cosmetics like soaps and body oils that use virgin coconut oil as base ingredient in their formulations.

Overcoming challenges with government support

AG Pacific Nutriceutical faced several obstacles, from meeting quality standards to handling shipping logistics.

The Philippines government’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was crucial in supporting AG Pacific Nutriceutical by assisting them with marketing, local and global exposures.

They participated in various international exhibitions through the Department, including the 2019 BIOFACH in Germany and China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) in China. In 2020, the company also participated in OMÉK trade fair in Hungary with support from the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Support from DTI and ARISE Plus Project

The European Union (EU)-funded ARISE Plus Philippines project came as a welcome opportunity in 2022. The Thaifex Anuga, one of the largest food and beverage trade shows in Asia, in Bangkok, Thailand in May 2023 offered valuable experiences and potential for growth. AG Pacific Nutriceutical was able to tap 35 prospects who are opting for healthy food snacks.

Lucila is clear about the value of participating in such fairs as she recalled another 35 international contacts build at Anuga 2023 in Germany with potential sales over 149,000 USD.

“It was my first time at Anuga and it turned out to be a useful experience as our products were promoted to international buyers visiting the fair. I learned about current trends in product development which helps in benchmarking our own products,” she shared.

The company has also received one-on-one coaching from an international expert to help them follow-up with buyers, guide them through branding, packaging, labelling, online presence and improving negotiation and marketing skills.

Embracing GSP+

AG Pacific Nutriceutical's knowledge of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) was facilitated by DTI inviting the company in 2020 to obtain the REX registration number.

The Registered Exporter system (the REX system) is a system of certification of the origin of goods based on a principle of self-certification for the EU. The origin of goods is declared by economic operators themselves by means of so-called statements on origin. To be entitled to make out a statement of origin, an economic operator must be registered in a database by competent authorities. The economic operator then becomes a "registered exporter." This allows them to better cater to EU customers, making the EU an attractive export market.

“We believe in fairtrade principles and we're eager to dive into the expansive EU market, where our commitment to fair-trade practices is genuinely appreciated by discerning consumers. Doing sustainable business is our vision.”

Currently, the company has direct buyers in Germany and the Czech Republic. Overall, 70% of the business volume is related to exports and 30% to domestic sales that are made mainly through retail in pharmacies, specialty stores, and online. 

Growing a Filipino brand

AG Pacific Nutriceutical quickly grew from a Barangay micro business to a medium-sized business with around 100 personnel.

Their first export was to the US and European markets in 2008, and the income helped the company obtain organic and fairtrade certifications.

“This initial shipment paved the way for our Organic and Fairtrade Certifications that we have maintained to renew and be eligible every year. Now we export not just to the US and EU markets but also to, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel, South Korea, Japan and Australia” noted Lucila.

With certifications in the EU, the United States National Organic (US-NOP), Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS)and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, they've continued to expand and adapt, even in the face of the pandemic and intense market competition, attributing their success to top quality practices and adherence to company mission and vision.

“We control the quality of our materials by working only with accredited suppliers in the Davao region.”

Future Vision

AG Pacific Nutriceutical is poised for more success with a future focused on international market linkages, healthy product development, and sustainable livelihood.

Their involvement with the ARISE Plus project and their unwavering commitment to quality and community support is a testament to what dedication, innovation, and collaboration can achieve.

AG Pacific Nutriceutical Corporation's success is not just a business accomplishment; it's a story of Filipino entrepreneurial excellence, ethical production, and a vision for a better, sustainable future. It's a beacon for others in the industry and a living example of how support initiatives like ARISE Plus can pave the way for global success.


The ARISE Plus Philippines project is enabling Philippine exporters to take advantage of European Union (EU) market access and the trade privileges granted under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP+). It supports the overall EU-Philippines trade relationship and trade-related policies.

ARISE Plus Philippines is a project of the Government of the Philippines, with the Department of Trade and Industry as lead partner together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Customs, the Department of Science and Technology, as well as the private sector. It is funded by the EU with the International Trade Centre (ITC) as the technical agency for the project.