Epoch Times, Singapore Edition (Issue 499, Nov 21 – Dec 4, 2014)
Local food producer offers food varieties to consumers and businesses – without the overhead
By Michael Ng
Epoch Times Staff
From appetizers and meals, to desserts and ice creams, born and bred Singaporean Manmeet Pal Singh is proud to bring affordable gourmet food to locals through his company Melvados – and the 51-year-old and his business partner Karl- Gunter Ableitner have been doing that for the past decade.
Starting with a 2,000 square feet rented premise at Bukit Batok, they moved to the current larger premise in 2008 at Woodlands and rebuilt it into a 20,000 square feet two-storey food factory in 2008, complete with a research and development unit that churns out innovative recipes.
Melvados is not only famous for its cakes, cookies, and pastries; it also offers a full spectrum of food for businesses and consumers, from appetizers and salads, to meals and desserts.
It positions itself as a one-stop outsourced chef catering to five-star hotels, café chains, airlines, and also to online and walk-in customers. Back in 2004, Manmeet noticed
that gourmet food could only be found in high-end restaurants and cafés. Customers pay not only for the food but also for overhead costs in the establishment—rental cost, labour cost, etc. They seized the business opportunity to bring no-frills gourmet food to consumers and has been experiencing 10-12 percent annual growth since then.
With rising cost and labour problems, how is Melvados keeping up? Manmeet remarked that innovation and increasing productivity is the way to go. The company currently has six departments: cookie, ice cream, pastry, bread, kitchen, sandwich and muffins. The chefs in each department constantly concoct new recipes for company executives to try.
Melvados responds quickly to customer demands. Manmeet shared that an airline had recently approached them for a chocolate sorbet. They got their chefs to experiment with new recipes and responded with an option for the customer. Within two days, they secured an order for 100 litres of chocolate sorbet.
To improve productivity, Melvados worked with Spring Singapore to improve the turnaround time and production volume for making ice creams.
They innovated a $400,000 high-tech ice-cream making equipment that automates the entire production process— mixing, pasteurising, ageing to cooling and freezing—and churns out 3,000 to 4,000 litres of ice cream per day, compared to their previous 200 to 300 litres via manual production.
Melvados prides itself on the high quality ingredients that go into their food. They fly to Europe and North America to select and import the ingredients themselves. They also incorporate local tastes and flavours into traditionally Western desserts.
Among their innovations are durian lava cakes, soursop sorbet, lychee sorbet, durian ice cream, and mango sorbet. Manmeet is convinced that customers will only buy if they have personally tasted the food.
For the past seven years, Melvados offers food sampling to their customers every last Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their 26 Woodlands Terrace premise.
They take pride in laying out their food like a feast for customers to sample and provide feedback.
All food sold in Melvados are preservative-free as they are quickly frozen upon production. They stay fresh for up to three months and are portion packed.
Manmeet commented that the cost savings they gain from basic packaging is directly passed on to consumers, bypassing mid-tiered sales outlets.
The local market for consumers to purchase raw or prepared high quality food products has flourished quickly over the years, as food manufacturers find direct sales a good revenue driver that addresses the challenges of overhead costs and labour shortages. In fact, lining Woodland Terrace are diverse food producers offering high quality food choices to consumers.
Learn more about Melvados at www.melvados.com
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