Maybe my parents raised me right, or I was just never a picky eater as a kid, but I’ve never had a problematic relationship with eating vegetables. Even now, going a few days without any greens on my plate gives me a substantial urge to have some salad for dinner to make up for the guilt.
But that’s not the experience of Soon Teoh’s relatives and customers. The inception of his veggie jams brand came from 2 separate events:
- The demands of Green Juice shooting up at his juice bar, The Cool Juice, and
- Young parents and relatives trying to hide vegetables in their kids’ foods.
Realising that there’s a receptive market towards it, he spent 4 months of R&D with his team to launch Spoonfit Jams.
Spreadable Veggie In Jars
“There were a few customers who jokingly asked if we could make healthy snacks like biscuits or jams as well, because it’ll be easier for them to get their kids to eat the greens rather than drink them in juices,” Soon Teoh told Vulcan Post.
In fact, even his relatives suggested he did so, as kids preferred sweet snacks over vegetables, and sodas over juices.
“My cousin jokingly said that with jam, she can just put it on bread, cover it, and get her kids to eat first, saying it’s kaya or something before revealing that it’s actually vegetable,” he laughed.
Gathering his team, they did some trial and error, testing various recipes that comprised fruits and vegetables without adding preservatives or artificial colouring. The fruits are mostly there to mask the veggies that taste bitter into something that’s sweet and craved by kids.
So, they came up with flavours like Carrot Orange, Greenish (celery, spinach and cucumber with lemon juice), and Beetroot, all costing RM15.90 for 250g each.
Unlike fruit jams which are more jelly-like, Spoonfit’s veggie jams have a texture similar to puree. “Some even say it looks like baby food,” commented Soon Teoh.
Because there are no preservatives inside the jams, it has a shorter shelf life. The founder shared that the small-sized packaging was chosen on purpose too, as it was a realistic size to consume within 2 weeks after it’s first opened. If customers wanted to stock up though, he said that the sealed jams can last up to a year when stored in a cool and dry area.
It’s Not Just For The Children
Veggie jams aren’t very popular locally, making it a difficult product to market online. Soon Teoh was aware of this and stated that for an edible brand, the best way to convince customers is to get them to try it, an approach also used by The Posh Egg.
“We’re used to eating vegetables or fruits individually without ever tasting them together as a blend. So if I were to say it’s made from celery, spinach, and cucumber, you might imagine each individual veggie taste and decide that, ‘Nope, it’s not gonna taste good together’ without ever actually tasting it,” he explained.
But because of COVID-19, taste testing in-store and at pop-up bazaars weren’t possible. So, Spoonfit Jams had to rely on online campaigns.
“We’d give out free jams to get people to at least give us a try. We are also getting influencers to help us with taste reviews,” he said. It’s also how word of mouth got out about the brand, where most of Soon Teoh’s friends were either influencers themselves or had influencer friends.
Since the influencers would recommend the product to others in their age groups, young women looking for healthy snack alternatives actually made up Spoonfit’s initial customers.
This opened up a bigger target market, but Soon Teoh shared that they’re still targeting young families, and hopes to one day be known as the go-to brand for healthy jam locally.
Since launching in November 2020, Spoonfit has already received a Halal certificate and can be found in selected Jaya Grocer and Village Grocer branches in Klang Valley.
Long term, Soon Teoh wants the brand to be a successful Malaysian-made jam company with a regional presence. He also hopes to expand his product offerings with a wide range of jam flavours including speciality local ones.
Featured Image Credit: Soon Teoh, founder of Spoonfit Jams