How S’pore Brand Aroma Truffle Sold 1M Bags Of Truffle Chips In 2 Years

In 2018, three brothers – Kenny Chan, 35, Johnathan Chan, 32, and Kayson Chan, 29 – saw an opportunity to bring sophisticated gourmet cuisine inspired by Italian culture to Singapore.

The trio realized that consumers are increasingly sophisticated in their food choices.

They then started experimenting with bold flavors and incorporating them into potato chips to add a modern twist to the conventional snack.

In particular, they used truffles, which are a highly coveted type of mushroom in Italian cuisine, and are widely known as the “Mozart of Mushrooms”.

Pairing truffles with chips

After experimenting with different combinations, the brothers managed to create truffle crisps accompanied by generous pieces of real black Italian summer truffles.

Johnathan was an award-winning sous chef under the direction of celebrity chef Heman of Jack’s Place. With his knowledge and expertise in Western cuisine, he came up with the winning recipe.

truffle
Image Credit: Aroma Truffle

With this, the Singapore-made brand Aroma Truffle was conceptualized in 2018. The black summer truffles that come in every packet come from the farms of Spoleto, Italy.

According to the Truffle Hunter, black summer truffles come with “an incredible aroma made up of undertones of garlic, wild mushrooms and earthy hazelnuts.”

Each pack of our truffle chips contains real and precious truffles. We need to control the proportion of Italian truffles – neither too much nor too little, with the right balance.

With the use of other fine seasonings like parsley, sea salt and olive oil, we have managed to create a synergistic improvement in its overall appearance, aroma and flavor.

– Kayson Chan, co-founder and director of business development and marketing of Aroma Truffle

They are the only brand of truffle crisps made in Singapore and they proudly call themselves “the strongest truffle crisps in the world”.

truffle crisps flavor
Image Credit: Aroma Truffle

The complaint actually came from one of their clients.

Afterward, they continued to receive similar comments and decided to use it as a slogan, which was in line with their vision – to create the strongest and best truffle snack on the market.

By placing this affirmation in our slogan it helps us stay in control and ensure that every batch of product is of high quality and supports our claim to be the strongest truffle snack brand.

I doubt you will find any other retail truffle chips on the market that have a stronger flavor experience than ours… yet.

– Kayson Chan, co-founder and director of business development and marketing of Aroma Truffle

aromatic truffle chips
Image Credit: Aroma Truffle

Since its soft launch in July 2018, the trio have sold over 100,000 kilograms of their wavy cut truffle chips.

In early April 2019, Aroma Truffle opened its first flagship store at Chinatown Point Mall, followed by four more outlets in one year.

Why Aroma Truffle Prices Its Crisps At S $ 10 Per Bag

A bag of Aroma truffle crisps – whether original, Dijon honey, or Parmesan – costs just $ 10.

I wondered how they managed to keep their truffle chips at such low prices – considering that truffles are the rarest and most expensive mushrooms in the world.

Truffles can sell for up to thousands of dollars per pound because they are extremely difficult to find and grow.

Original Truffle Chips Truffle Flavor
Original truffle chips / Image credit: Aromatic truffle

Our truffles come directly in bulk from a truffle farm based in Spoleto, Italy, via direct import without going through a third-party distributor.

Therefore, we are able to price our snacks much more competitively than other gourmet snacks on the market.

– Kayson Chan, co-founder and director of business development and marketing of Aroma Truffle

That is why they are able to keep their cost prices much lower than other gourmet snack manufacturers and pass the value on to their customers.

Keep the “copiers” at bay

One of the challenges faced by many leading food retailers is the threat posed by “imitators” in the market.

Due to the high cost of food involved in our unique recipes, the feasibility of imitating and retailing a product at the same retail price with similar quality is apparently impractical.

– Kayson Chan, co-founder and director of business development and marketing of Aroma Truffle

Also, Aroma Truffle’s secret brewing techniques that go into creating their signature products help fend off the competition.

Image Credit: Aroma Truffle
Image Credit: Aroma Truffle

“The source, cost and quality of the truffle ingredients themselves play a key role in eliminating our competition,” he said.

Competition with salted egg fish skin snacks

The Chan brothers started Aroma Truffle with just S $ 30,000 from their own savings, S $ 10,000 borrowed from their parents, which was then returned after the business was launched.

Regarding the challenges, Kayson said they also kept their full-time jobs while working on Aroma Truffle as a plot. As a result, they were very overwhelmed with cooking and fulfilling orders.

Kayson held a business development role at A * STAR before creating Aroma Truffle, while Kenny was in the marine industry.

Johnathan, as mentioned earlier, was a sous chef who won first place at the Epicurean Star Award Singapore 2015.

Johnathan chan
Johnathan Chan / Image credit: Aroma Truffle

They also found it difficult to negotiate lower cost prices with suppliers of truffles and potatoes because their initial production was too small.

As a result, they had to absorb most of the costs and retail their products at paper-thin profit margins.

Additionally, there was stiff competition within the gourmet snack industry as most consumers were obsessed with the then popular snacks like salted egg fish skin.

“Our products are tasty and tasty, but our presence was little known to the public because we just left them on supermarket shelves,” Kayson said.

Kayson, Kenny and Johnathan Chan founders of aromatic truffles
(Left to Right) Kayson, Kenny and Johnathan / Image credit: chewy-jas.blogspot.com

They could have built a stronger brand early on in their business instead of “leaving all the retail work to their distributor”.

Their truffle crisps only became more famous at the end of 2018 when they opened their first booth at the Raffles Xchange.

Looking back, the reactions of corporate buyers have made us very proud of our products. The “aroma” quickly spread throughout the CBD district. In no time we began to see and “smell” the aromatic truffle in many pantries.

– Kayson Chan, co-founder and director of business development and marketing of Aroma Truffle

On their annual income, Kayson revealed that it was a “7-figure sum.”

Since their inception, they have sold over a million packets of truffle crisps.

How the aromatic truffle disrupted the snack industry

“We are fortunate to be able to quickly identify this market gap and fill this gap which is the lack of affordable truffle products in Asia,” Kayson said.

Besides their website, their products are also available at major Cold Storage and FairPrice supermarkets.

“We wanted to make a premium ingredient like truffle accessible to more people,” he added.

According to a report by Nielsen, it shows that despite stiff competition and rapidly changing global trends, one of the promising categories of consumer goods is snack foods.

The snack industry grew by US $ 3.4 billion (S $ 4.6 billion) globally in 2017, and many emerging markets have risen to the top of those with increased appetite for snacks.

Accordingly, there is a need to embrace and stimulate innovation in the restaurant industry to capture demand and remain relevant in the market.

At Aroma Truffle, their R&D team, led by Johnathan and made up of skilled chefs, is always experimenting and coming up with new products.

One of their latest creations is the very first truffle moon cake launched in August 2019, completely sold out and among the top 25 brands at the Takashimaya Mooncake show.

aromatic truffle moon cakes
Black Charcoal / Butterfly Pea Musang King Mooncake / Image Credit: Aroma Truffle

They hope to take over the world with their truffle chips.

They have since expanded to Brunei, China (Tmall.com), Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand through a physical or e-commerce model.

They are also “sniffing out” other developed (such as the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States) and emerging markets (such as Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia).

Featured Image Credit: chewy-jas.blogspot.com / Aroma Truffle

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Jothi Venkat

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