Love them or hate them, the durian has grown from being a local delicacy into a global commodity that grows in demand over the years.
Founded by Anna Teo, Hernan Corporation Sdn Bhd (Hernan Corp) has been exporting durians and foodstuffs since 1996. It was also the first local company to export whole durians to Australia in 2004.
Alongside selling their durian products, the self-styled ‘largest and leading exporter of Malaysian durians’ has also been running a durian party service for seven years.
Caylie Chan, the Export Specialist of Hernan Corp, shared more about this spinoff brand with us, giving us a glimpse inside a growing local industry.
Durians On Demand
If you do not know what a durian party is, imagine a feast dedicated to the king of fruits, where your friends, family or colleagues can sample a catered selection of the season’s best breeds.
After Hernan Corp noticed the demand for a dedicated durian party and event services, they launched Durians2go, which became active in 2019.
“We have covered events for corporate clients such as major local banks, Telcos and logistics companies,” Caylie said.
But with the durian’s popularity in our country, services like this are already as numerous as roadside fruit stalls.
“The biggest challenge will be facing other competitors that provide such services,” Caylie admitted, “But our key differentiator is that we can provide fruits at wholesale prices, since it’s directly obtained from our farm.”
Hernan Corp owns a 1,500-acre farm in Raub, Pahang. This is where they source all of their fresh durians to sell whole, or to make into other durian products.
For now, Durians2go is focused on hosting durian parties only within the Klang Valley. In the future, they plan to sell durians on digital platforms and deliver them through an outsourced logistics partner.
Let Them Eat Durian
Durians and Malaysians have an almost symbiotic relationship. I mean, how many people could tolerate the fruit’s pungent aroma in order to grow and eat them?
Yet during peak seasons, Hernan Corp grows and sells a variety of diverse species including the ‘King of Kings’ itself, the Musang King. Besides that, you’ll find other members of the royal durian family like the Sultan King (D24) and the Musang Queen (D160) among their offerings.
They supply more common species such as the D101 and D13 too. When it’s the off-season for durian, the company can still sell 400g packs of frozen durians to customers.
Being a spinoff from Hernan Corp, Durians2go sells the company’s durian flavoured delicacies such as mochi, daifuku, pancakes, mooncakes and more.
Caylie commented, “In recent years, durians have been commercialised so much that we are seeing a lot of different durian products in the market.”
“We have seen durian ice creams, cakes, pastries and even durian hotpot! People are getting more willing to explore the different faces of what durians can offer.”
The interest in new and sometimes strange durian products is quickly growing. So, it was only a matter of time before the fruit’s popularity invaded other facets of the food sphere.
“Currently, we are selling our products under the brand of Hernan Food, but you may see Durians2go grow its own online platform for consumers to browse and order from in the near future,” Caylie said.
Malaysia exports only 17,000 tons, or 5.8% of its annual durian production, mainly to Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, the US and China.
However, that may change with China’s recent approval of frozen durian fruit imports by their General Administration of Customs, which went into effect on May 30, 2019.
Prior to the agreement signed last year in August, Malaysian durians could only be shipped to China in pulp or in paste form.
This is quite a boon for our local industry as China currently imports roughly 300,000 metric tons of durian each year, mainly from Thailand.
“Like most commodities, durian sales depend on the demand from the public, and on the availability of supply,” Caylie said.
“As China just opened its doors for Malaysia to export durians to their country, we will see a growth in durian exports. There are more parties investing in durian plantations with the expectation of growing demand,” she concluded.
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Featured Image Credit: Hernan Corporation Shd Bhd