PotonGuler F&B Sdn Bhd was established in November 2018 by siblings Amirah Jasmine Norman who acts as the head of R&D and is the brand’s product formulator, Anas Lufti Norman who is chief of marketing, and Atirah Danial Norman whose role is chief of operations.
Their first product, PotonGuler sweetened condensed milk with zero white sugar, was debuted in February 2019 in their Setia Alam factory.
Amirah, who at the time was still studying at Le Cordon Bleu, conceived the idea for their condensed milk one day while at home making pastries.
She realised that she had neither sweetened condensed milk nor white sugar for the recipe, the latter of which they had stopped using years ago.
Their family has been in the diabetic food industry for 10 years, so she had stevia at hand instead and decided to mix it into some milk powder, and the first unofficial version of their PotonGuler condensed milk was created.
Anas said that the unexpected invention was “a timely blessing due to sugar tax and non-communicable diseases [being] on the rise due to excessive sugar [intake].”
“We can see that people consume a lot of teh tarik in mamaks and it contains an excessive amount of sugar so this,” he said, referring to PotonGuler’s condensed milk, “can be a healthier version of sweetened condensed milk that could enable consumers to enjoy more of their favourite drink.”
Watching Out For Diabetes
There are currently 3.6 million diabetics in Malaysia and it’s predicted that 7 million adult Malaysians will be diabetic by 2025.
Anas told us that there’s also the common misconception that sweetened condensed milk is only milk, “but it actually contains more than 70% sugar and only 30% milk or creamers.”
PotonGuler wants to remedy this by enabling consumers to still enjoy sweet things without the effects of excessive sugar in their food products.
“It is in our mission in PotonGuler to make daily food products to have less or zero white sugar, low-calorie, diabetic-friendly and affordable to the masses,” Anas stated.
“When daily food [products] are made healthy, affordable and physically-available in most stores it is easier for the consumers to make changes and normalise their lives with healthier versions, especially when the food tastes great.”
It’s a Convincing Alternative
A 350gm packet of PotonGuler Susu Pekat Manis Le Ting Penuh Krim costs RM7 and is sweetened with natural low-calorie sweeteners like stevia sourced from PureCircle Ltd., isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMO Oligo) and oligofructose.
According to Anas, their consumers have commented that their sweetened condensed milk tastes like caramel and works well with various local drinks, desserts and even as a spread on toast or roti canai.
Having had the opportunity to taste PotonGuler’s sweetened condensed milk (on its own and made into milk tea) ourselves, we were taken aback by how well it mimics the taste of our regular F&N sweetened condensed milk.
Two of us in the office cannot stand the taste of stevia, so we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that we couldn’t detect it at all.
It’s no wonder then that 90% of their customers have made repeat orders once they run out of the product.
Their diabetic customers are also able to enjoy hot drinks once again without compromising on the sweetness and have reported no spikes in their blood sugar level when consuming daily meals with additional beverages or desserts made with PotonGuler’s condensed milk.
Start Small, Aim Big
Since starting, over RM250,000 was invested into PotonGuler to start up its small factory and their product development to make them market-ready.
“As we are just starting as of February 2019 and focusing on direct sales channels such as online and agents, we are making around RM20,000 per month but we are coming up with more distribution channels and planning on venturing into more international market spaces,” Anas shared.
“Since we are a young startup company, our funding is rather limited and our manufacturing capacity is quite small,” Anas said of the biggest challenge that PotonGuler faces.
“So, what we are doing is mostly on a small scale such as marketing activities as well as distribution and we are not able to supply to major hypermarkets and retail store due to high listing fees and existing sales credit terms of up to 90 days in FMCG industry.”
However, “we are looking for potential partners for us to penetrate into distribution as well as getting the awareness of the availability of low-sugar diabetic-friendly food products in the market,” said Anas.
When asked what PotonGuler’s proudest achievement is so far, Anas said, “The fact that a small Malaysian company like us have managed to create the first-in-the-world sweetened condensed milk with zero white sugar and are in the business with a market share of RM2 billion in Malaysia alone.”
“We know are on the right place, we just need to meet the right people and get the awareness out so that we can face the world.”
What’s In Store For The Future?
In line with their mission to create healthier versions of existing everyday food products, PotonGuler will be expanding their product range and already have a sweetened creamer with zero white sugar in development.
“This version contains non-dairy creamer that is suitable for people who aren’t able to take lactose and the products are more affordable to the B40 segments as they are targeted to be priced at RM3–RM4.”
“In that way, we can provide more healthy daily food to more segments of the market. We are also coming up with our very own dairy-based ready-to-drink the tarik, kopi tarik and choco drink.”
“These products are placed as an introduction to diabetic-friendly beverage line where it will be easier for the consumers to be familiarised with low-sugar and diabetic-friendly food products.”
“We are also coming up with our own milk powder with stevia for the dairy powder industry,” Anas added.
As for plans to export their products, Anas told us, “We believe PotonGuler will thrive in developed countries where there are substantial knowledge on healthy food products and consumers are more than happy to spend money for it.”
“So, we are aiming to make a mark in United Kingdom and position ourselves in this lucrative country and we hope we can make our country proud by being a Malaysian-born company that is thriving in the global world.”
While PotonGuler’s sweetened condensed milk may be a solution to cutting out white sugar from your diet, it’s probably still best to consume it in moderation and not go overboard with it.
If you have other health concerns regarding alternative sweeteners, do some research to ensure that your body won’t react negatively to them.
- You can find out more about PotonGuler here.
Featured Image Credit: PotonGuler