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It is often believed that consuming abalone, pronounced as ‘bao yu’ in Mandarin, during Chinese New Year (CNY) would bring an abundance of good fortune for the entire year.

This is why abalones are a highly sought-after product in Singapore during the festive season, and it’s also not surprising to see that New Moon’s canned abalone products have become a staple at every household.

According to surveys conducted by AC Nielsen between the years of 1999 and 2011, New Moon has consistently topped the ranks for 13 consecutive years as the best-selling abalone brand in Singapore.

With origins dating back to 1959, the brand is managed by Goh Joo Hin Pte Ltd, which started off as a provision store along Singapore’s Rochor Road selling a variety of food and essential items.

The history behind Goh Joo Hin

Goh Joo Hin Rochor Road
Goh Joo Hin’s provision shop along Rochor Road / Image Credit: New Moon

Goh Joo Hin, initially named Joo Hin Wholesalers, was bought over by businessman Goh Yeow Gek in the 1940s as he saw potential in the business.

After acquisition, he renamed it to Goh Joo Hin and it was later joined by Goh’s family members who helped manage the provision store and expanded its business into imports and exports.

In the 1980s, the company went on to acquire New Moon and further expanded its product offerings.

Today, the business is helmed by CEO Goh Kai Kui (the grandson of Yeow Gek), alongside their family shareholders and four other senior managers.

Under the 58-year-old’s management, Goh Joo Hin has shifted from trading to developing a strong distribution network and brand portfolios. The company currently manages brands such as Mili, Skippy, SPAM, and Borsch Med, and has a market presence in at least 17 other countries.

From canned abalones to sauces

New Moon is commonly associated with its canned abalones, but it has actually diversified its products over the decades.

New Moon collagen birds nest
New Moon’s collagen birds nest drinks / Image Credit: New Moon

According to Kai Kui, the brand has ventured into producing bird’s nest, chicken essence, fragrant rice as well as edible oils and sauces between the 1990s and 2000s.

“These products were well received by Singaporeans, and have earned multiple awards,” he said.

Since the 2010s, the brand has further expanded its food range to include chilled and frozen products such as frozen otah, popcorn chicken and mantou, to cater to the busy lifestyle of Singaporeans.

Premium local and Asian pastes such as chicken rice, chilli crab and rendang, were also brought in during this time period to give Singaporeans greater convenience when preparing meals.

We always take time in studying the market trends and develop our recipes before launching our products, in the hope of bringing something new to our consumers.

– Goh Kai Kui, CEO of New Moon

However, surviving and remaining successful throughout these decades was no easy feat. Over the years, New Moon had seen its share of difficulties including the 1997 Asian financial crisis, SARS pandemic, and the most recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these economic headwinds, it has managed to survive and remain successful by managing its stock supplies conservatively and building strong relationships with partners.

Despite the difficulties, the brand has grown its e-commerce capabilities during the pandemic to reach its customer base. However, the rapid emergence of newer, trendier F&B brands in Singapore has proven to be a barrier for New Moon.

Kai Kui said that the younger generation is more inclined to try these newer brands, and New Moon may not be an “everlasting heritage brand”. To appeal to these consumers, the brand is looking to improve and innovate its products by offering healthier options and sustainable food and eco-friendly packaging.

By aligning with evolving lifestyle trends such as healthier options with less sugar, New Moon hopes to remain relevant in the F&B landscape.

Setting sights on global expansion

Besides evolving according to market trends and demands, New Moon has also collaborated with popular local celebrities and engaged them as brand ambassadors.

[Our collaborations with celebrities] have contributed to New Moon’s success as a trusted household brand and a top choice for gifting to loved ones.

– Goh Kai Kui, CEO of New Moon
Han So Hee new moon
Han So Hee as New Moon’s brand ambassador / Image Credit: New Moon via Instagram

Over the years, local celebrities such as Fann Wong, Kym Ng, Jeanette Aw and Stefanie Sun, have all been named as New Moon’s brand ambassadors. Most recently, renowned Korean actress Han So Hee has been appointed its latest brand ambassador in hopes of becoming a globally recognised brand.

In line with this ambition, New Moon has established itself in multiple Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Kai Kui asserted that the brand’s goal is to expand beyond Southeast Asia and become a “well-known and trusted global brand with a diversified range of products.” To achieve this, the company is looking to expand its team, as more manpower and different skill sets will be needed to introduce new products in the future.

Featured Image Credit: New Moon / @rontreechan via Instagram

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