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How this local brand modifies its healthy apple cider vinegar to suit M’sian palates

If you’ve tried apple cider vinegar, you’d know that it’s a bit of an acquired taste. Despite being a healthy product, the strong acidic smell and sour taste make it less appealing to the general public.

Wanting to change this, Surya was created. The team formed an alternative to the conventional apple cider vinegar by adding natural honey, making it much more palatable but still healthy.

Since its inception in 2016, Surya has expanded its range of drinkable ciders to other flavours including pomegranate and dates.

A simple sweet trick

According to Surya, apple cider vinegar improves digestion, increases satiety (the feeling of fullness) to help in weight management, relieves constipation problems, improves lipid profile, regulates blood glucose level, and boosts the immune system.

Shop Surya’s ACV on VP Label at an exclusive price now:

Aside from its benefits, the fermented liquid is also useful in the kitchen as an ingredient for salad dressings, soups, sauces, and more.

The team at Surya noticed that apple cider vinegar was a common household item, but the sour and harsh flavours meant it needed to be mixed with something else.

As taste-conscious Malaysians, the team had to make sure the products were fitting to the local market’s flavour profile.

Thus, generous amounts of natural honey were added to Surya’s formulation. The sweetness of the honey allowed for an apple cider vinegar that could stand on its own, eliminating the need for end consumers to add ingredients such as lemon or ginger to make an appetising drink.

Image Credit: Surya

The Surya team started conducting sampling sessions, and to their surprise, nine out of ten tasters gave positive feedback.

“It was a no-brainer, people loved the taste and they just kept coming back for more,” the brand said.

Setting Surya apart

Those familiar with apple cider vinegar would know that international brand Bragg has been a consistent market leader for the product. However, Surya doesn’t really fret over the big name.

“We’ve always insisted on our niche position—the best tasting apple cider vinegar—against the market leader,” they shared. “We started with the intention to create a market fit that would be relevant and irresistible to Malaysian consumers. We knew our formulations would swing taste palates our way.”

The homegrown brand takes pride in being fully Malaysian. Most names associated with apple cider vinegar such as Bragg are from abroad, but Surya is ready to change that. By utilising social media and collaborating with local key opinion leaders, it is able to drum up brand awareness.

The Malaysian brand is also available at Watsons, Guardian, CARiNG Pharmacy, and other local pharmacy stores. This helps elevate its visibility while providing a platform that instils credibility. Being shelved next to competitors also helps consumers make comparisons easily.

Image Credit: Surya

Surya argues that another market that sets them apart is its competitive pricing. This is considering how the raw nature of other brands’ apple cider vinegar means consumers will need to spend extra time and money if they want to achieve a flavour akin to Surya’s drinks.  

A healthy future

Due to the pandemic, Malaysians value a healthy immune system more than ever. Surya believes this mindset is contributing to its brand.

But now that we have entered the endemic phase, the company is starting to look abroad.

In fact, Surya has already made headway into Brunei, with its next destination being the Indonesian market. Despite setting the target on the ASEAN market at large, the company is still focused on its local customers.

“Our goal is to make Surya the basic household brand in Malaysia,” the team shared. “This is our dream where Malaysians are taking a little more responsibility with their health.”

  • Learn more about Surya here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Surya

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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