That’s a wrap: Australia’s Dumpling 100 revamps decades-old recipe to tap Australia’s ‘trendy’ frozen foods sector
Dumpling 100 as a company is very young, having just had its first production run in October 2020, but the recipe that the firm is using to rapidly grow its market in Australia originated in China and goes back many years.
“Although it would not be possible to give away details of the unique family recipe, the dumplings produced as a result of this are very different in terms of having very thin wraps and juicier fillings,” Dumpling 100 Managing Director Shelley Zhou told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“We’ve also taken things a step further from the traditional dumpling method by introducing the latest technology to our processing which makes the wraps even thinner – this involved bringing in technology that could mould the dough to a specific shape that would lend to producing the thinnest possible wrap.
“The meat is also processed and minced at our plant, not bought as is, as this allows us to control the fat content and freshness which makes a big difference to the dumpling’s juiciness.”
In order to match up with current food trends in the region, particularly premiumisation and localisation, the firm also opted to choose quality over lower price as well as the prioritising the use of local ingredients so as to appeal to a specific consumer demographic.
“Our main target consumer market are those with disposable incomes, who earn higher salaries and are able to concentrate on satisfying a higher quality of life and food, thus are willing to spend more on high quality ingredients,” said Zhou.
“There has also been a very big movement towards supporting local especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and most food firms are aware that prioritising the use of local ingredients is a definite plus point so we are also maximising our use of local meats and vegetables to meet this demand – this also gives the added advantage of keeping things fresh.
“Freshness is very key to us as we want to display how frozen food products can actually still be fresh – what we do is that as soon as the dumpling is formed, it is frozen immediately which locks in the nutrients, and so can still be very fresh when cooked despite being frozen.”
Zhou also highlighted how frozen food products are finding increasing traction in Australia and beyond, not just within the dumpling sector but across many food categories.
“Frozen foods are very trendy right now in Australia. There are more of these than ever before, and this means really fierce competition within the category,” she said.
“Many consumers are recognising the benefits of frozen foods such as being easy to reheat and maintain freshness, so from dumplings to [burger patties to pizzas] and more, many food items are making their way into the frozen aisle.”
Dumpling 100’s range of eight dumpling variants, four wonton variants and two dim sum variants are stocked by retailers including Drakes, Woolworths, Foodland and IGA and prices range between A$9.90 (US$7.43) and A$17.50 (US$13.13) depending on ingredients and package size.
Dumpling it out
Apart from competition from other frozen foods, Zhou also told us that the rivalry is strong within the dumpling sector itself, as there are many variants of dumplings vying for similar consumers in the country.
“Australia is an immigration country, so there are many different cultures which actually have many different yet similar food products,” she said.
“Asian dumplings such as we make are very well-known and there is of course already competition within this area, but we also need to add to the fray competition from other types of dumplings such as those from Italy (e.g. gnocchi) or Russia (e.g. pelmeni).
“Everyone has their own recipe, their own range and own area of special deliciousness, so I would say that competition within this space is pretty fierce.”
Dumpling 100 seems keen to take on the challenge though by launching as wide a range of flavours as possible to cover every avenue, including a vegan dumpling for plant-based seekers, a spicy chicken dumpling for those keen on spice, and a pork and prawn for those who want a more traditional product.
Dumpling 100 is a finalist in the South Australian Premier's Food and Beverage Industry Awards, competing for the New Product with five other finalists. The winner will be announced on November 12.