Healthy Asian ready-to-eat meals for the young and old
Food innovators, Green Capsule Organics, worked with IPI’s Innovation Advisors to market and effectively position their uniquely Asian ready-to-eat meals for babies and the elderly.
Breaking into a market already dominated by big name brands is no easy feat—especially for an SME. This was one of the major obstacles that faced Green Capsule Organics in their bid to enter the baby and elderly food industry over the last year.
To expand beyond their roots as an importer and distributor of organic food products and personal care items, Green Capsule decided to take advantage of a gap in the Asian baby food market and establish their own brand of baby and elderly food that can cater to local tastes.
Founded by Alice Foo and Lam Soo Sing in 2013, the SME has since promoted numerous products that abide by its “Eat well, Feel well” principle. According to the company website, Alice, who faced kidney failure at only 19 years old, was inspired to form a company with a mission to provide organic and healthy food products that can empower people to take charge of their health and well being.
However, successfully competing in a highly-saturated market demands a unique selling point. With the help of IPI’s Innovation Advisor (IA) Programme, founders Foo and Lam were able to work with IAs Brigitte Zeller and Ramachandran Rajamanickam to lay the brand foundations for two of their product lines: Deliciously Bib and Recipe with Love.
Having worked in Asia for 25 years with global companies like Unilever, Nestle, and Fonterra, IA Brigitte played a crucial role in the process of refining the Deliciously Bib's brand story and architecture. "We chose to work with IA Brigitte as we find her expertise in marketing, branding and innovation to be a good match to our needs to develop a new baby food brand," said Lam.
IA Brigitte also shared her expertise in package design, product pricing, and market research, providing Foo and Lam with a scoring framework to identify priority export markets based on each country's qualities. The power of a brand’s narrative, according to IA Brigitte, should not be underestimated. “It is important that the new value proposition has a clear and consistent story to be understood and trusted by consumers,” she explained.
As for Recipe with Love, Green Capsule’s ready-to-eat meals for the elderly, Foo and Lam decided to work with IA Ramachandran for his rich background in the functional food industry, having worked as Abbott Nutrition’s VP for Asia Pacific. Adopting IA Ramachandran's insights on the nutritional needs of the elderly, the company is currently in collaboration with the Food Innovation & Resource Centre to develop a new range of elderly food products. Apart from assisting in packaging designs, IA Ramachandran also helped Green Capsule fine-tune their sales channels—advising the start-up to focus on connecting with doctors, clinics and nursing homes on top of increasing supermarket exposure.
More than anything, Green Capsule and the IAs underscore the value of team chemistry in their success—something they all enjoyed throughout the programme. “Green Capsule was also willing to take a step back and look at the big picture versus being ‘locked’ into what they have always been doing—so it was an enriching experience,” shared IA Ramachandran.
Green Capsule also lauded IA Brigitte who proactively conducted market research for the start-up. “It gave us a really good overall insight into the export baby food market in Asia without having to travel there personally. She did this without us asking. She understood and anticipated our needs,” said Lam.
Green Capsule is set to assimilate Deliciously Bib and Recipe with Love under the overarching brand of Organic7days—a project they have also decided to pursue with the help of IPI’s IA programme.
According to Green Capsule, they are incredibly grateful to IPI for introducing them to industry veterans who saved them from hefty consultation fees and supported them through steep learning curves. Looking ahead, Green Capsule has started working with strategic narrative specialist IA Mike Amour to rebrand Organic7days. So far, IA Mike has helped the team sharpened the company's current brand purpose as well as refining a mission statement to create a more focused brand story for customers.
“Having a coach means we have external deadlines, accountability, or ‘homework’. As SME owners, it compels us to focus on longer-term objectives which are often lost within our daily grind of things,” they shared.