Artisanal foods sound exclusive, either turned on, as we say, which translates directly to “above.”
“It gives the impression that artisanal food is for aspirants, but the truth is that the artisanal food movement is all about getting back to basics,” suggested Jasmine, the founder of an artisanal nut butter business. The Good Fat Company (TGFC). “It’s about knowing how your food is made, its quality and the freshness of the ingredients that are used.”
Unlike most startups, TGFC was not born out of a passion for nuts or nuts. A year ago, Jasmine hit a wall with her previous adventure during the pandemic and was cornered in a situation that most business owners have faced to let go of their staff.
Grab one for the team
Last year was very hard for many and with ever changing SOPs and MCOs again and again, it’s as if the light at the end of the tunnel is spreading.
“My previous business stopped completely, it was devastated because we had dedicated so many things to building it,” Jasmine reported to Vulcan Post. One of the positive things he drew from that experience, however, was the opportunity to work with a very close-knit team that was by his side through troubled waters, pay cuts and all.
The company was already at the end of the road and Jasmine shuddered trying to figure out how to break the news to her employees. After a lot of tears, Jasmine’s husband told her, “It makes no sense to cry over spilled milk, or think about doing something so you can keep your boys, or confront them and tell them that they have no job “.
Knowing he had won the lottery with his team, he couldn’t let them go. Nor did it matter in what business they were together, as long as they did not dissolve.
This led her to a brainstorming about what market trends and what needs customers had, wondering what company was worth developing with her team from scratch. One night at 3 a.m., understanding struck her: the answer was quality food.
Growing from the beginning
Most of what Malaysians buy is imported, which means foods are preserved and have very few nutrients when they reach the table. That’s why the idea of creating nut butter immediately came to Jasmine’s mind. “After traveling long before the pandemic, we would enjoy all the varieties like almond, hazelnut, pecan and the list goes on … but at home all my kids can find is peanut butter “It was my light bulb moment!”
After 48 hours, Jasmine drafted her business plan and presented it to the team that was there. “I was very lucky, one of my employees who managed the operations had a culinary background, so he understood the technical aspect of food and that made it easier,” she said.
Without skipping the pace, they set to work and tried several recipes until they were satisfied with their own version.
To produce good quality fruit butter, it is important not to use a food processor, as the heat from the machine would destroy the nutrients in the nuts. It is also a method shared by the healthy snack company we wrote earlier, Nourish and Nibbs. With strict requirements, the largest investment for TGFC capital was the purchase of machinery such as screw mills and toasters.
With the support of her husband, Jasmine spent her savings to finance her new business. The couple was confident that if they lost the money it would be considered a learning cost; if TGFC grew and triumphed as desired, its mission would be fulfilled.
Aside from providing capital for the business, Jasmine credits a large portion of the investment to the team. Initially, the staff incorporated partial salaries, as Jasmine could not afford full payment. “I will always consider your sacrifice for partial wages as part of the investment when we started this company,” the employer expressed gratefully.
A law of equilibrium
I have tried butter from new artisans from brands like BREAKFAST by Amy before, and what I’ve always wondered was if it was safe to consume the layer of oil floating to the top. It’s something you’ve probably seen inside Nutella jars as well.
And that was TGFC’s first big challenge: production. Because nut butters do not contain preservatives, the separation of the oil formed in an unopened jar, although edible, tends to scare customers. Jasmine explained that the reason it is produced is that nuts are high in fat, which acts as a natural preservative so they don’t go bad quickly. Once a jar is opened, it should be finished within 90 days.
Therefore, Jasmine recommends its customers to buy TGFC products in bulk. “While it would be good for business, we prefer our customers to purchase what they need and consume it before buying the second jar,” he told us humbly.
This was where the TGFC team had to find the balance by making proper quantities per batch, to maintain the quality and shelf life of the nut butter.
“There were months when we oversold and there were months when our families had to eat a lot of nut butter,” Jasmine explained. Today the team has found a steady stream of customers and has a better idea of producing according to the demands of consumers ’consumption cycles.
These customers currently have health-conscious people who are also concerned about the environment by reducing meat consumption in protein. Jasmine shared that she was actually surprised by the age group of millennials who bought her products, assuming the TGFC customer base would come from baby boomers.
Since its launch in October 2020, TGFC has sold more than 8,000 jars and already has 10 nuts butter variants. Each can cost between RM 29.90-RM 65.90 each (depending on the type) and can be purchased on the TGFC website or its distributors as KitaKita, Read, i Fittle Sense.
We have seven months at the end of April and we are grateful that our sales have been on a steady rise month by month. This is a more important indicator for me than the benefits, as it means we are delivering more and more of our nut butter to people. Right now I’m less concerned about profits, as we’re more focused on building our brand.
Jasmine Mohan, founder and CEO of The Good Fat Company.
Compared to her previous company which is currently being restructured, Jasmine is confident that the lessons learned from her will help her team improve a second time.
- You can find more information about The Good Fat Company here.
- You can read other F&B articles we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: Jasmine Mohan, founder and CEO of The Good Fat Company