Salted egg has been all the rage for years.
Singaporeans never seem to get tired of its umami flavour, and are known to queue for hours to get their hands on coveted salted egg snacks.
Although Crusty’s Singapore joined the game later in 2016, it still managed to capture the nation’s tastebuds with its line of salted egg yolk flavoured fish skin and potato chips.
However, Crusty’s did not simply stop at salted egg flavoured products and have constantly come up with various innovative products.
From Childhood Friends To Business Partners
Crusty’s was founded by three childhood friends, Kenny Ng, Melvin Wong and Teo Woo Yang.
Despite hailing from very different backgrounds (they were previously in the oil and gas, real estate and healthcare industries), Kenny told Vulcan Post that the trio share the same “passion for food and what goes into making them.”
They wanted to create a brand of salted egg yolk fish skin snacks for retail, and their aim was to have it look and taste like it was “freshly cooked at a zichar restaurant”.
In an interview with Michelin Guide, the founders shared that when they first started out, they consulted an old chef, whose zichar eatery was frequently visited by them as students.
Their early days were spent producing the snacks at home, and renting push carts in malls to peddle their wares.
All the profits they generated, along with their own savings, have been reinvested back into their business to scale their manufacturing facilities.
Redefining Local Snacks One ‘Crust’ At A Time
Crusty’s vision is to deliver the taste and heritage of Singapore to the rest of the world with its snacks.
Our different concoction of flavors differentiate us from other products in the market. While all other products are equally great, I think our products bring an additional element of fun to our customers.Kenny Ng, Co-founder of Crusty’s
According to Kenny, the company has “great support” from suppliers and distributors both local and abroad.
Its products have since been exported to various countries like Thailand, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, and even Maldives.
Besides its ubiquitous salted egg fish skin and potato chips, the snack company constantly produces snacks that are uniquely Singaporean.
This includes Chilli Crab Popcorn, Truffle Salted Egg Potato Chips and Mala Salted Egg Fish Skin.
Crusty’s was also the first to come up with the mala spice and salted egg combination for its fish skin.
Now, the team’s latest innovation is Soy Skin Crisps.
Soybean skin goes by many names — most notably tau kee, and is featured in a myriad of local dishes like yong tau fu and dim sum.
Crusty’s co-founder Melvin shared in an interview with Michelin Guide that mock goose or zai er — a popular compliment to vegetarian meals — was the inspiration for this new snack.
Kenny added that the “eureka moment” came during lunch at a vegetarian food stall near their office.
Innovation At The Core Of Crusty’s Products
According to Crusty’s, its team of local chefs “never fail to innovate”.
Kenny shared that the company holds R&D sessions every month, where the team will try out different combinations of ingredients to find the winning concoction.
Everyone in the company is involved in the tasting and giving feedback on the new flavours created, including family and friends.
Once a few selections are chosen, the team will then start researching on their target market and gathering consumer data before searching for suppliers.
All in all, it usually takes six to nine months before the products reach the supermarket shelves.
Continuing To “Redefine Snacks” In The Years To Come
Crusty’s is in the midst of expanding its manufacturing operations to cater to more market segments.
Their snacks can currently be found in supermarket chains like FairPrice, convenient stores like Cheers, and most of the major petrol kiosks in Singapore.
Movie goers can also enjoy its innovative snacks at Golden Village.
They also have a flagship store in Chinatown, which is temporarily closed due to Covid-19, as stated on their website.
Due to Covid-19, the company has had to face hurdles in overcoming disruptions in the supply chain and ensuring the safety and welfare of their employees.
Kenneth mentioned that the pandemic was one of the “greatest challenges” faced by the company thus far.
Despite that, they are expecting a new product launch this November, just months after its Soyskin Crisps were launched.
As Crusty’s tagline goes, “redefining snacks” is something the company will continue to stick with for the years to come.
“We hope to bring more innovation to the snacks that we all grew up with,” said Kenny.
Featured Image Credit: Michelin Guide and Crusty’s via Facebook