- Osuda is a brand of matcha milk spreads founded by accidental housemates Mika Goh and Bone Cheah in 2016.
- Compared to matcha spreads of the imported Korean variety, Osuda is tweaked to match local tastebuds that prefer a less sweet flavour.
- Each bottle of Osuda matcha milk spread retails for RM19.90 per 160 grams.
When eventual business partners Mika Goh and Bone Cheah got properly acquainted, it was really only by chance.
“We were actually both secondary schoolmates and university mates,” Mika explained. “But we only got to know each other more during the last two semesters of university after we [coincidentally] became housemates.”
At the time, little did they know that this meeting would eventually turn into a profitable F&B venture—more specifically, a business selling matcha (Japanese green tea powder) milk spread—think of a sort of kaya to be put on toast, biscuits and other sweet confectioneries, except with the flavour of sweetened Japanese green tea.
According to Mika, the idea came up during a catch-up over some tea.
“It was a bit hard for us to find great matcha milk spreads in Malaysia so we decided to make it ourselves,” he said. “We decided to create this product because we could foresee a future for it, and our partners loved it a lot.”
Also, Mika said he noticed at the time how a particular brand of matcha milk spread was selling for over RM50 for 200 grams—a price that he and Bone agreed did not exactly represent good value.
“So we started to figure it out ourselves by researching the recipe online,” he explained. “It took us about six months to achieve the taste and texture we wanted before we started selling online.”
A short period later, Mika and Bone found the reception to their own product—made simply from palm oil, sugar, skimmed milk powder, and imported matcha powder—to be overwhelmingly positive.
“The response and feedback was too good, and we regret that many other matcha lovers didn’t have a chance to try it,” Mika said.
They also discovered a problem with product longevity; at the time, their matcha milk spread was unable to last for long durations past their manufacturing date, which meant that Mika and Bone were forced to deliver their spreads directly to the doorsteps of their customers.
“This limited us from posting out our products beyond Kuala Lumpur and Selangor,” Mika explained. “So after a year, we decided to look for a solution that would let more people enjoy our spread, and we took another six months to get some professionals to help us do some research and development and come up with a spread that could last for a year.”
“Our hard work paid off, and we finally transformed into a product with better taste and quality.”
Appealing To Malaysian Tastebuds (And Pockets)
Osuda has managed to put their matcha milk spread in numerous outlets in the Klang Valley including supermarkets, fruit shops, and bakeries, and also in online marketplaces such as Lazada, 11street, Jenama.biz, and their own Facebook page.
And when asked how good business is, Mika said that Osuda currently sells about 800 jars a month, with their revenues falling between RM10,000 to RM15,000 each month.
These encouraging numbers, Mika thinks, are due to their positioning as one of the most affordable brands of matcha spreads (RM19.90 for a 160 gram bottle) in the local market, and also one that caters especially to local tastebuds.
“Most of the other brands are from Korea, and after importing their products, their prices will be too expensive to compete with us,” Mika explained. “Besides, our spreads are not too sweet, with a richer matcha taste that people much prefer compare to the Korean brands.”
Spreading The Business Wider
But even with business being quite satisfactory thus far, Mika admitted that there are still things to be done if they are to grow any bigger.
“The biggest challenge for us is actually educating people about the real taste of matcha, as most people in Malaysia are used to sweet matcha and still can’t accept matcha products that are slightly more bitter for them,” Mika explained. “We try to educate them about the actual taste of matcha and convince them to try it with different combinations.”
But Mika and Bone are convinced that this is only a small hurdle, and that there are plenty of opportunities to bring their products to other markets.
“The product is still easy for people to accept because it’s new and fresh,” they explained. “Our target is to expand to Johor and Penang in 2018, and eventually export into Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and Philippines.”
“We might also be manufacturing our own matcha drinks or ice creams in the future but it’s all still in planning.”
- To know more about Osuda and where to get their spreads, visit their Facebook page.
Feature Image Credit: Osuda