Yong Wen wants to build brands

Yong Wen wants to build brands

Singapore-based food group Yong Wen Foods hopes to grow the overseas presence of its own brands, with a particular focus on Europe and select markets in the Middle East.

Speaking at Paris-based trade show SIAL yesterday (22 October), Yong Wen director Jennifer Kee tells just-food that the company's largest revenue stream is generated by the products it distributes on behalf of food multinationals in its domestic market.

"Sales of Nestle brands in our own market are currently the largest for us," Kee said.

Yong Wen is a Signapore trading company that distributes Nestle brands including Milo and Nescafe, plus Ferrero's Nutella. The group also acts as a distributor for US chocolate group Hershey in China.

However, Kee said Yong Wen aims to grow its business by focusing on expanding the sales of its own brands, Yowe and Saporito.

The company produces a range of shelf-stable Chinese grocery products under these brands, ranging from rice crackers to sauces and seasonings.

"We are now working to promote our own Yowe and Saporito brands. This is very important for us. It is a big focus," she explained.

Yong Wen exports its brands to customers in 40 countries. Some of the group's largest overseas markets include the Netherlands, Mauritius, Hong Kong and Lebanon.

Asian countries such as Myanmar, Malaysia and China have been natural areas to seek growth, she continues. But the company is also looking further afield to the affluent consumer bases of Europe and the Middle East.

"We see growing demand in these areas. Our target market is Europe. Of interest is European customers, where Asian grocery is becoming more popular," Kee said.

Elsewhere, the Middle East is a longer-term but nevertheless "very interesting" opportunity.

Kee said Yong Wen has picked up a number of new customers at SIAL. For example, the company is now preparing to launch its products in Greece and Dubai, she revealed.

While Yong Wen is firmly focused on raising its overseas growth trajectory, the progress of the group's international expansion strategy would seem to be slowed somewhat by the need to meet regulatory requirements to export into various different overseas markets, which Kee suggested, is the largest challenge the group is facing.

"We are working hard and want to learn all the documentation and requirements for different countries," she said.