A couple of weeks ago, I came across a Malaysian business, Safe Food Corporation (Safe Food), which claims to be the first to produce and sell pasteurized eggs locally. It made me wonder, “Aren’t all the eggs in grocery stores pasteurized anymore?”
“No. Check your labels, “they replied. After a quick Google search, their statement is fulfilled. Most grocery stores here actually sell sanejat eggs, unpasteurized. And that can make a big difference.
Clean it inside and out
Healthy eggs are treated with UV lights to kill bacteria or viruses that may be present on the surface of eggshells.
Pasteurized eggs, however, have been treated with precise, gentle heat for a long period of time to eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses such as Salmonella or bird flu. These pathogens can be present inside and outside the eggs and are often the culprits of food poisoning.
The Safe Food team clarified that there is actually no harm in consuming unpasteurized eggs, because the heat from cooking is usually enough to wipe out harmful organisms. This is, Yes they are 100% cooked.
In today’s culinary world, eggs are no longer just fried or hard; many recipes typically use raw, semi-cooked eggs. Think mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, uncooked cakes, half-boiled eggs served copy breakfasts, or those fancy egg dishes and they take out in the cafes you get per gram.
“These are examples that contain a certain percentage of crudeness that carries a certain percentage of risk of food poisoning,” Maverick, founder of Safe Food at Vulcan Post, said.
In fact, Dr. Norlizan Mohd Noor of Dato, the head of Malaysia’s veterinary health department,shared that approximately 1% of one million eggs grown in Malaysia may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
“If we eat half-cooked eggs and receive diarrhea or food poisoning, we often don’t know where it went wrong. Sometimes we blame seafood or meat before thinking about semi-cooked eggs, ”added Maverick.
And that mindset was what made it difficult for Safe Food to penetrate the Malaysian market when they brought the technology here.
Malaysians did not see the point
Despite the advantages of pasteurized eggs, it was not easy to convince the Malay market that it is not willing to get more commodities.
“13 years ago, when we launched Safegg in the market, it required a lot of expensive advertising and promotions to educate the market and gain its attention,” Maverick explained.
Dictionary time: Safegg is the Safe Food brand for pasteurized eggs that uses award-winning egg pasteurization technology in South Korea.
As they continued to educate the market and work, Maverick also noticed a paradigm shift in Malaysian consumers. People began to be more aware of their health and were also willing to spend more on good quality food.
“Over the past 13 years, we have seen an increase in Malaysian reception towards pasteurized eggs,” Maverick confirmed. Public acceptance of Safe Food also experienced a domino effect, so once the consumer was satisfied with the product, they would normally look for more again and recommend it to their own friends.
“Even in my kids’ school chat groups, I saw parents recommending pasteurized eggs to other parents without knowing I was the managing director of Safe Food Corporation, ”she excited.
Of course, there is a segment of consumers who are not convinced. Maverick shared that the team still receives feedback from people who claim to have eaten unpasteurized eggs cheaper and see no sense in changing.
But the team is not backing down, believing that with continued training, more Malaysians will make the switch.
Just like milk, today consumers understand the importance of processed milk as pasteurized milk, UHT milk and know that raw unprocessed milk has a high risk of food poisoning if mistreated. This was achieved through years of educating the market.
Maverick Lee, CEO of Safe Food Corporation.
More brands to reach more customers
The pasteurization technology used by Safe Food was brought to Korea, where Maverick learned of its importance during a trip to the country 14 years ago. Seeing the potential of this market here, he opened the Safe Food factory in 2008 and sold the processed eggs under his brand name, Safegg.
Today, Safe Food supplies to both B2B and B2C segments in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Some of its prominent clients include local F&B brands such as Go Noodle House, Paradise Dynasty, A&W and Dunkin Donuts.
In the B2C segment, their pasteurized eggs can be found in grocery stores across the country, such as Cold Storage, Isetan, Aeon, along with Jaya and Village Grocer. Safe Food has also expanded into the e-commerce scene during the 2020 MCO by offering deliveries of its eggs through its new brand, Eggshipper.
In addition, the company also launched ready-to-eat pasteurized egg products such as tamagoyaki (Japanese tortilla), marinated eggs, and so on. through another brand, Eggnovative.
As for its goals for the next 3 years, Maverick shared that the team wants to export its products to more countries. They also hope to raise retail awareness and focus on branding efforts to educate more customers about the benefits of pasteurized eggs.
- You can find more information about Safe Food Corporation here.
- You can read about other startups in Malaysia here.
Featured Image Credit: Maverick Lee, founder and CEO of Safe Food Corporation