As someone who prefers some kind of texture in my food, I appreciate fried garlic and fried onions as rice and noodle toppings. In addition, they also tend to enhance the flavor of a meal.
Porkimah, as they call themselves on Instagram, or What the pig ?! on Facebook, it’s a business that makes these types of dishes. Except, they sell fried lard that you will often find in street dishes like Hokkien mee or Fideus Hakka.
The reason they have two names is simple, as the Instagram manager of the official trade name, What The Pork ?! was taken. To simplify, in this article we will refer to them as Porkimah.
Hawker aunts and uncles were the inspiration
The business currently sells 6 products in its Shopee store, all focused on lard. Their first product, Crispy Pork Lard, was inspired by local street vendors who added them as a garnish to elevate the flavor of a dish.
Co-founders Kevin and Adrian realized this while eating out on the street and realized that adding lard could also immediately improve their homemade dishes. After conducting market research, the duo found that many often overlook the use of lard when cooking Chinese dishes, although they wondered why street vendors could make such food. tasty.
This caused an epiphany and they took the opportunity to create lard products as a staple in Asian homes to help elevate home cooking.
Prior to founding Porkimah, Adrian had been looking for a job as a chef in California after his education in hospitality in Switzerland. He had recently returned to Malaysia, but then came the global blockades.
With no direction in his life during the pandemic, Adrian was restless. Thus, when the idea of starting Porkimah arose, he decided to channel his knowledge to the new company.
Meanwhile, Kevin himself was in a difficult situation at the time. With a marketing background, he started a creative agency that was making a good pre-pandemic, but struggling to make a profit during the MCO, as clients postponed payments to maintain their own cash reserves.
Unable to maintain the agency, Kevin shut down the company to channel his time and energy to join Adrian in the direction of Porkimah, which was launched in March 2021.
An indulgent snack, but at what price?
Although the crunchy lard (RM 29.99 for a 200 g container) can be used as a garnish for a meal, Porkimah also marks it for eating as a standalone snack (RM 17.99 for a pack of 80 g). In addition, it has its own crunchy pork skin product (29.99 RM per 150 g) reminiscent of fish skin with salted egg yolk and KFC’s recent crispy chicken skin snack.
One of the challenges Porkimah may face is the perception that eating animal fats can cause high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol. That’s what KKM does said about the fried chicken skin, and would probably say the same about similar products like Porkimah’s.
Kevin also addressed these concerns, noting that lard is not often perceived as an appetizer.
“It simply came to our notice then [pork lard] it is not healthy, fat, etc. Although we intend to create something tasty that everyone loves and, surprisingly, lard is not as unhealthy as one might think and is definitely favorable to the keto-dieting community, ”he shared.
But, as with all snacks, you should still eat in moderation.
Build a brand for trust
While there are certainly some sellers of lard snacks in Shopee and Lazada, they are usually unbranded or from a manufacturer overseas. This makes it difficult to make a specific brand responsible for product quality.
Kevin was also able to confirm this in his findings. “From what we’re seeing in the market, several small businesses also sell crispy lard, but we rarely see any companies that [emphasises on] mark for it, ”said the experienced salesman.
“This is crucial because the brand is not only recognition, but also represents trust and confidence in the product. That’s why there are big brands like Lays, Super Ring, and so on. So we decided to take that as one of our core factors in building the business. “
To further expand the presence of the Porkimah brand, there should be a clear approach so that potential buyers understand why the company bears different names. The team seems to make it clear on social media by constantly using Porkimah on their handles and URLs, while the company name remains as What The Pork ?!
This practice should also be transferred to their sales channels, indicating at least the name or description of the product that customers can find on social media like Porkimah.
Orientation to non-Muslim home cooks
As the business sells pork products, Porkimah is already out of the Muslim market in Malaysia. Still, it seems that Kevin and Adrian are clear about their target market and are using the necessary methods to get there.
“In the consumer market, our main target market is housewives who love to cook or cooking lovers in general who appreciate good Chinese cuisine,” Kevin told Vulcan Post. To get their name, they started sharing Porkimah products in a nearby neighborhood and Whatsapp groups. Through word of mouth, Kevin reported that they managed to get a substantial amount of orders.
“Finally, we ventured into buying media (increasing Facebook posting). With the purchase of social media, we managed to expand to wider areas and reach many more audiences and get some leads along the way.” , explained. Porkimah also sells its B2B products, mainly to Chinese restaurants to help them keep up with their demand.
While they are probably one of the first local brands to create these products right now, Kevin acknowledged that the barrier to entry into this business is low. Therefore, it has focused on growing the business.
On average, they already produce between 10 and 20 kg of crispy lard per month on their current scale. To expand production, Porkimah is looking for an investor.
Once secured, in the near future, Kevin and Adrian hope to work on building a distribution line by storing their products in the non-halal sections of grocery stores and restaurants.
- You can find more information about What The Pork ?! here.
- You can read more F&B articles we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: Kevin and Adrian, co-founders of What The Pork ?!