Success story from Rags-to-Riches, Zest-O owner Alfredo Yao


The breadwinner of the family at 12, Alfredo Yao experienced a lot of hardship and could not even complete his studies due to poverty. But he was able to overcome these many challenges, be successful in life, and build his own empire with Zest-O.

Alfredo Yao’s story of Rags to Riches

Born on November 23, 1943, Alfredo Yao’s life was not easy. He was only 12 when they lost their father.

With 5 other siblings to feed and his mother only earning money as a sidewalk vendor, Yao knew he had to work harder to help earn money for the family. He did a lot of side jobs just to make money, but it wasn’t enough for him and the rest of the family to live comfortably.

Due to the hardships he went through, Yao struggled in school and could barely complete his primary and secondary education. Thanks to the help of parents, he was able to enroll at the Mapua Institute of Technology but was unable to complete his studies due to lack of funds.

Photo credit: Primer

He got a job in a printing house. But he didn’t stop being a worker. Seeing that the business was making a lot of money, he decided to learn the ins and outs so that he could start his own. He managed to save enough money to start Solemar Commercial Press, his very first business. He named it in honor of his mother.

Business went so well that Yao got richer. Still, he didn’t stop with the printing press business. While in Europe in 1979 to visit various trade shows, he saw the newly invented doypacks.

Seeing that it would be very useful for businesses because the package is sealed but stands up, he brought the technology to the Philippines. But few companies were thrilled with the idea. Only the juice companies were ready to try the new packaging.

Photo credit: Freelance

He didn’t feel discouraged, however. Instead, he decided to whip up his own juice to use these doypacks. From his kitchen, he created the first orange drink for Zest-O in 1980. The first batch sold out so quickly and Yao would soon find his fortune in the juice drink.

From the orange variant, Zest-O currently offers many different flavors. The juice packs are delivered in the original doypacks and also in other variations. The company also sells dairy products, energy drinks, soft drinks, water noodles, condiments and more.

Zest-O juice packs continue to dominate this segment and are expected to hold 80% of the juice market in the Philippines. Unbelievable.



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