[Parts of this story were taken from a video interview we did with the founder in August 2021.]
For a while now, ketogenic (or keto for short) has been a popular lifestyle option for health nuts or individuals looking to lose some weight.
As a low-carb, high-fat diet, keto diets require quite a bit of accommodation as the practitioner wouldn’t be able to eat foods such as bread, rice, noodles, potatoes, and more.
Due to these restrictions, a lot of brands have popped up to cater to people on keto diets, allowing them to easily practise the lifestyle.
This includes a Malaysian mother-and-son duo’s brand Molly’s Keto Kitchen. Established in July 2020 by mum Molly and son Andy, the brand started as a small home-based business that has since turned into a full-fledged operation.
Sparked by a financial crisis
Andy and his family took a hit when the pandemic first started. He received salary cuts, while his wife, Yen, was retrenched. Income started to be an issue.
Furthermore, the couple was expecting a baby boy who they would eventually welcome into the world in October 2020.
Having been practising the keto lifestyle for a few years, Andy came across a Facebook group called LCHF (low carb, high fat) Keto Market where he would buy various keto items.
After being on Facebook for a while, Andy began to familiarise himself with the types of people and products on the platform.
Paired with their financial hardships and uncertainty in the job market, Andy realised that keto-friendly foods were an industry he and his family could get into too.
After all, Andy’s mum, Molly, has always been supportive of his diet, personally cooking up keto-friendly recipes. According to Andy, she’s always cared about her family’s health.
“Why don’t we start selling [keto-friendly food] ourselves?” he wondered. And so, they did.
The key to keto foods
According to Andy, Molly’s Keto Kitchen is all about helping people eat the things they love without guilt.
“The idea is to get [the food] as close as possible to what you’d normally eat [in terms of] non-keto products,” Andy explained.
For instance, a popular product from Molly’s Keto Kitchen, aside from its bread, is the Caramel Pandan Kaya, according to Yen. The idea for the kaya came from customers who like the local jam but were unable to find a healthy, low-sugar alternative to it.
The brand also sells various sauces such as Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, Sambal Penyet Keto, Mee Goreng Mixing Sauce, Soy Shiitake Mushroom Mixing Sauce, Dark Soy Sauce, and more.
Being a keto lifestyle brand, one of Molly’s Keto Kitchen’s priorities is to find a way to keep the carb count low. They do this by using alternative ingredients, which aren’t that easy to come by. Plus, they can be quite pricey.
As the brand name suggests, Molly’s Keto Kitchen’s products are all prepared by mum Molly, while Andy’s role comes in during the research process.
This process took a lot of trial and error through experimentation on Molly’s part. In fact, their first bread recipe resulted in loaves that were “as hard as a rock” that did not taste good at all.
“I think our kitchen turned into somewhat of a science lab during that time,” Andy recalled.
But thankfully, he’s the kind of person who likes to keep trying until he gets it right. So, he continued doing research and making adjustments to the recipe.
As of 2021, Molly shared that they were making more than 30 loaves of bread every day, while bottled products were created over weekends.
“The business, I think, has been able to help us sort of supplement some of the shortage in terms of the income we’re getting,” Andy revealed. “But I wouldn’t say it covered us completely.”
In 2021, Andy shared with Vulcan Post that they had aimed to continue with Molly’s Keto Kitchen as he believes there are many customers who have come to depend on the brand and its products.
The family managed to achieve this by bringing in a partner who could oversee the production, setting up a central kitchen, and ensuring that the ecommerce system was in place.
With that, Molly’s Keto Kitchen’s products are sold on a platform called Bread and Better, a website that was started as a way to give customers the best experience when purchasing the brand’s products.
Looking at the platform today, it also sells other products, namely keto or health-conscious ingredients such as erythritol, stevia, almond flour, and lupin flour.
Beyond bread, spreads, and sauces, it appears that the family is bringing Molly’s Keto Kitchen to the next level, establishing itself as a brand for all things keto.
This interview was done as part of our previous Vulcan Post video series, Pandemic-Born.
You can watch the startup’s video interview here:
- Learn more about Molly’s Keto Kitchen here.
- Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.