Saturday September 20, 2008

Munchy’s does Malaysia proud


THE popularity of MUNCHY’S has seen the Malaysian snack being munched in more than 50 countries around the world.

The business, run by five brothers, started with just a wafer stick machine in 1991.

Today, Munchy Food Industries Sdn Bhd has a monthly output of over 2,000 tonnes of biscuits and wafer products.

C.K. Tan at the company’s new HQ and marketing office in Klang.

“Munchy’s brand mission is to produce all kinds of fun-eating snacks for every home all over the world,” said chief executive officer C.K. Tan. “We are trying to use Malaysia as a base and build Munchy’s into a world brand, instead of seeing more foreign brands coming into our country.”

Tan and his brothers have gone through tough times in bringing up the brand, especially in 1996 when the local market was saturated with many other big brands.

“It took us about 10 years to grow Munchy’s into one of the top brands in Malaysia. Now our mission and vision in the next 10 years is to grow Munchy’s into a world brand,” Tan said.

“We will allocate more funds into marketing to grow each overseas market in a big way in the next 10 years.”

Tan, who foresaw the importance of branding after he joined the company in 1994, started a re-branding exercise in 2002.

Munchy Food’s laboratory at the manufacturing plant in Batu Pahat, Johor.

The company promptly brought in top branding consultants, who re-designed the logo with the distinctive colours of Munchy’s red and white.

“Munchy’s brand value is to bring fun into people’s lives and this has been our main focus for the past six years.

“Munchy’s is a very catchy name. It comes from the word munch. Our brand is very lively as you can see from our product packaging,” Tan said.

He added that a lot of innovation went into the design and packaging of Munchy’s products.

“I believe everything starts from the product. You have to have a very good product and ...we put a lot of innovative ideas into designing the products from the packaging to brand image, the shape and weight of the products, basically from all aspects,” he said.

The Tan brothers believe in continuous product development.

“We spend three years to innovate a product and keep modifying the quality and packaging.

“Until today, we still keep thinking on how to make the existing products better.

“It took us more than 10 years to make Munchy’s Lexus the most saleable biscuit sandwich product in Malaysia,” Tan said.

Export markets

Munchy’s major markets are in Asia with Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan its key markets. It is also looking to penetrate Vietnam.

Munchy’s products are also exported to Mongolia, Bangladesh and Iraq.

Iraq is a major market; prompting Munchy’s to take a closer look at the Middle East.

“Going forward, we also focus more on the Middle East because with the oil money, people there are willing to spend,” Tan said.

Overseas sales now contribute about 25%-30% of Munchy’s total revenue, with the management aiming to expand it to about 50% of total sales by the end of next year.

With the launch of the new Munchy’s Mini crackers this year, the company is expecting export sales of RM90mil to RM100mil and a total revenue of over RM300mil, against RM250mil last year.

Overseas expansion

Tan said the company would produce 10 new products under the Munchy’s brand this year and planned to build a factory each in Vietnam and Indonesia to increase production.

“Vietnam is a new and emerging market with a population of 80 million while Indonesia has a huge population and is now our second largest export market, which shows that Munchy’s products are widely accepted,” he said.

Tan said the company had invested about RM75mil in new equipment in the last two years that resulted in the production of the new Munchy’s Mini crackers.

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