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“Despite the challenge of reinventing a time-honoured ingredient dating back to the Tang dynasty (618 CE to 907 CE), I was determined to create a bird’s nest dessert that embodies beauty, convenience, and exquisite taste,” Cieyou Lim shared. 

This vision laid the foundation for NestBloom, a Singapore-based company he founded shortly after taking the reins of his family’s bird’s nest farming business in Indonesia that’s over three decades old.

It’s quite a bold ambition considering that bird’s nest has long been dubbed as “the caviar of the East”. Made from the hardened saliva of a swiftlet, the most luxurious type (called “blood nests”) could reportedly fetch up to S$10,00 per kilogram back in 2021.

That said, there haven’t been many notable changes made to the delicacy itself. 

Cieyou himself observed a lack of innovation in the edible bird’s nest market since joining the family business in 2014. Sure, we now have bottled drinks and mini jars, but he still believed the industry could do better to adapt to contemporary lifestyles. 

Image Credit: NestBloom

After three years of R&D, he finally came up with Nestbloom’s debut product—its Almond Cream Bloom. Shaped beautifully like a chrysanthemum, it’s crafted with bird’s nest, rock sugar, and top-grade Chinese almonds.

Hence, creating a new bird’s nest offering that’s like no other in the market.

Innovating a centuries-old delicacy

Growing up in Indonesia, Cieyou had been exposed to the bird’s nest industry at a young age. And after graduating from college, the now-42-year-old joined his family business and learnt its ins and outs.

Then in 2008, he was entrusted to oversee the family legacy. Recognising the potential of growth, he expanded its domain into the food manufacturing sector.

Image Credit: NestBloom

As part of this effort, he established a bird’s nest processing plant in Surabaya to expand its product portfolio and enhance efficiency. It was during this period that he realised a deficit in more innovative edible bird’s nest products.

He also noticed its diminishing popularity amongst the younger generation. So he sought to change that by creating a new product that’s both convenient and relevant for today’s consumers.

Namely, he wanted to craft the product so that it not only tasted delicious but looked aesthetically pleasing while still preserving its nutritional benefits.

For context, bird’s nests have been widely recognised since the Tang dynasty to have medicinal benefits. “[This] should be honoured and continued,” Cieyou said. “I believe it has its place in modern society as well.”

Their products range from SG$45 to SG$280, which isn’t far off from standard bird’s nest prices in Singapore / Image Credit: NestBloom

Cieyou shared that bird’s nest is believed to have the effects of nourishing yin, tonifying the kidneys, and moistening the lungs. It’s commonly used to treat symptoms like chronic cough and bloody sputum. 

To give the delicacy more flavour, NestBloom uses natural ingredients and pairs it with unique shapes to give the blooms a story. You can distinguish the taste profile for each product based on its distinctive shape. 

For example, its Heritage Bloom incorporates pandan leaves to attain its flavour. It’s then later preserved through the brand’s proprietary freeze-drying method. Cieyou stated that each bloom takes 52 hours to create and involves meticulous handcrafting.

Serving both old and newer generations

Image Credit: NestBloom

Initially, the brand aimed to appeal to audiences on different ends of the spectrum—those who are familiar with bird’s nests and those who aren’t.

To achieve this, BloomNest offers classic yet modern flavours. 

“We aim to cater to the preferences of younger consumers who are drawn to contemporary taste experiences. This approach not only revitalises the perception of bird’s nest but also makes it more accessible and appealing to a new generation of consumers.”

The products are designed to be prepared quickly, where you just need to add hot water to it and wait for five minutes. 

Image Credit: NestBloom

So far, the brand’s best-selling flavour remains the Rose Bloom, known for its delicate floral notes. This is followed closely by the Heritage Bloom and Almond Bloom. Other flavours available include Matcha Almond, Red Ginseng, and Vanilla Bean Almond.

That said, it wasn’t easy to convince the older customers when NestBloom’s products were first introduced.

Cieyou confided to us that the brand encountered scepticism as these consumers were used to the more traditional preparations of bird’s nest. “Our products seemed unfamiliar and perhaps even off-putting to them.”

Image Credit: NestBloom

To overcome this, his team dedicated strategic education and marketing efforts to convert the older customers. Its aesthetic appeal made NestBloom’s products a popular choice for gifting, which further contributed to its acceptance.

A symbol of modernity and excellence

The brand has begun expanding its catalogue to include non-bird’s nest products. Just last November it debuted the Nourishing & Recovery Bloom that’s made for postpartum mothers.

This oat milk-based tonic combines fish maw with red dates, fennel seed, and brewer’s yeast to create a nutritious and delicious warm shake. Fish maw emerged as a vital ingredient due to its superior collagen content, which benefits new mums.

Image Credit: NestBloom

Designed to be consumed every one to two days, its CEO said that the Bloom aids in recovery. It also contains lactation-boosting ingredients to support breastfeeding.

Having experienced steady growth in demand so far, it seems like Cieyou has achieved what he first set out to accomplish. But the second-generation entrepreneur has bigger goals and intends to grow the business further.

His ultimate goal?

“We aspire for NestBloom to be recognised as a symbol of modernity, sophistication, and excellence in the [health and wellness] industry.”

Image Credit: NestBloom

Well, from my Gen Z perspective, the business certainly seems to have potential. While still a relatively young endeavour, the brand is prepared to make its mark in Singapore’s F&B scene.

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

Featured Image Credit: NestBloom

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)