Alfred Yao of Zest-O

Image from pinoyinspirations

Whenever I think of Zest-O, this leads me back to my childhood. This has been my all-time favourite. I love the flavour and well I love how handy it is. I am often at my happiest when my mother would include this in my snack box before.

Well the story behind the man of Zest-O as a matter of fact is really inspiring. Hence, whenever I drink one today, more than bringing me back to my childhood, I keep on remembering Alfred Yao. He is a Filipino Chinese businessman who founded Zest-O Corporation. Currently he has other businesses under his belt namely Semexco Marketing, Inc., Harman Foods, Amchem Marketing, Inc., American Brands Philippines, Inc., SMI Development Corporation, Philippine Business Bank and Zest Airways.

Alfred is a self-made businessman who rose from poverty with his hard work and determination. When his father died when he was 12, he assumed the role of breadwinner in his family. His mother then was a sidewalk vendor. With the aid of his relative, he was able to finish elementary and high school. Yet, he was not able to finish college at Mapua Institute of Technology. He was able to take up a few subjects while doing jobs at the side at a warehouse of a packaging company.

With the help of a cousin, Alfred was able to get a job in a printing press. In here, he was able to know how to print out cellophane wrappers for candies and biscuits. Because of that, he ventured into the printing press business. It somehow lasted for 20 years until Alfred saw the potential of doy packs which was considered the latest European packaging technology at that time. Hence, he ventured into the juice manufacturing business incorporating doy pack packaging.

Right in his kitchen, he was able to create fruit juices and in 1980 launched the Zest-O orange drink. With that, it became an instant hit since mothers tend to include it in the lunch boxes of their kids. Just like what my mother did before. Eventually, kids loved it since the doy pack keeps the juice cold and fresh.

Currently Zest-O comes in 12 variants and even eats up 80% of the market share for fruit juices. Even more, it has expanded to varied countries in Asia, Australia, Europe and the USA. And now, Alfred is also geared towards other businesses.

From that, we can simply imagine how tough his road to success was. He was able to work on varied jobs just to help his family until he landed with an idea and started pursuing it. And look where he is right now. Definitely we can be able to learn a lot from the maker of Zest-O, Alfred Yao. 

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