Selecta (dairy products)

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Industry Dairy industry
Founded 1933
Founder Ramon Arce, Sr.
Headquarters Philippines
Products Ice cream, UHT milk, margarine
Owner RFM Corporation

Selecta is a dairy products brand owned by Philippines-based RFM Corporation (PSERFM). Its milk business is operated by RFM Corporation, while its ice cream business is operated under a joint-venture with Unilever Philippines, Inc. (known as Unilever RFM Ice Cream, Inc.).


The brand's beginnings can be traced back to 1933[1] when Ramon Arce started pasteurizing carabao milk near his home in Novaliches (then a part of Caloocan City), where carabaos were in abundance (Unilever RFM Ice Cream, Inc. would cite the brand’s foundation year as 1948.[2]). Arce began selling and distributing fresh milk in bottles using the Selecta brand name to residences, restaurants and offices. Soon after, Arce and his wife, Carmen, would come up with their own ice cream recipe made from carabao milk. These products became the foundation of the family’s Selecta business, which later included the Selecta restaurants and bakery. The Selecta business was continued by Arce’s children after his retirement in 1950. By the 1970s, Selecta’s carabao milk based ice cream and fresh milk became available in supermarkets. Its milk was packaged in glass bottles while its ice cream was packaged in gold colored tin containers.

In January 1990, RFM Corporation acquired the Selecta brand from Arcecon Dairy Products, Inc. (successor-in-interest to the Selecta business) and established Selecta Dairy Products, Inc. to take over the production of Selecta ice cream. Under RFM ownership, the recipe of Selecta ice cream was improved and aggressively marketed, posing a serious challenge to then market leader, Magnolia. With its success, its ice cream recipe would eventually shift to cow’s milk. Much later, the gold colored tin containers would be changed to gold colored plastic tubs. RFM also introduced its own Selecta milk products which were made from cow’s milk.

In January 1995, the family of Mauro Arce, the youngest son of Ramon and Carmen Arce, revived the Arce family’s original ice cream business under a new brand, Arce Dairy. Its ice cream would continue to be made from carabao milk and packaged in gold colored tin containers, reminiscent of the original Selecta era.[3]

In 1999, RFM entered into a joint-venture with Unilever Philippines, Inc. to take over the production and marketing of the Selecta ice cream business.[4] For this purpose, Selecta Walls, Inc. was established (now known as, Unilever RFM Ice Cream, Inc.). The Selecta milk business continues to be operated directly by RFM Corporation.


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