Colourful cooking for kids: Dumpling 100 aims to fulfil visual and nutritional appeal with MSG-free range
Dumpling100 is best-known for its award-winning traditional Asian-style dumplings in Australia, having successfully launched its range in multiple national and local supermarket ranges across the country. But with its latest children’s range of products, the firm has opted to go for a more modern recipe to ensure it could cater to more children’s tastebuds.
“One important thing was definitely we wanted to ensure the kids would want to eat the dumplings and not put up a fight during mealtimes as is so common in many households, so for the dumpling wrappers we made these colourful in red, green and yellow to make these attractive to them,” Dumpling 100 Managing Director Shelly Zhou told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“For the first range we also decided to make it more targeted to Australian kids so we’ve gone with Napoli sauce and included cheese as part of the ingredients; and the vegetables are more general like spinach and cauliflower and not as Asian as our regular products which usually go with Chinese cabbage or chives.
“In addition, the key is also to appeal to the parents who are making the purchases so for the wrapper colouring we have made sure to be all-natural using fruits and vegetables, and we also made these 100% MSG free even in terms of the sauces. This is a big thing here, a main selling point, as parents want to feed their young children healthier choices and to minimize the preservatives and artificial items as much as possible.
“The colourful wrappers making these more attractive to kids will go a long way to ensure they are more interested in the food, and with the healthier ingredients, it encourages healthy eating habits which we want to go for.”
Dumpling 100’s children’s range currently has three flavours – Beef & Vegetables, Chicken & Vegetables and Fish & Parmesan – and for its initial launch it has targeted mostly local supermarkets and is now ranged in about 70 stores across South Australia.
“The price range is currently between A$12 to A$12.50, and we are looking at the reviews and refining then definitely aiming to go into the big stores as well,” said Zhou.
Expensive health choices
She also highlighted how making the products healthier and more visually attractive was actually more of a challenge than anticipated, particularly when it came to product costs.
“Ingredients to colour the wrappers were definitely one of the biggest challenges as mostly in the market everyone uses artificial colours as they are cheaper, and the cost differential is really huge,” said Zhou.
“The artificial colours also have lots of stock everywhere, but to go natural and to zoom in on these three particular colours was quite the ordeal – not to mention that natural colours have a higher tendency to fade upon cooking so we had to find a way to find a balance and keep these looking good.
“And even after all that, there’s also the challenge of consumer education and reassuring consumers that these are all natural with no artificial colour added, as we still had some consumers thinking these looked fake and unhealthy and being reluctant to let their children eat these.”
All in all though, with strong promotion and sampling Dumpling 100 is seeing that the appreciation for the range is growing, especially as children are fond of the new items.
“As more try it and see the benefits, and the kids also show a liking for these, they are coming back to buy more so sales is building up day to day,” she said.
“The plan for us from now is to grow this to more states and into more supermarkets – growth is definitely our main focus for the rest of this year, and we will still be launching some new products but will be slowing down the range a little bit for now as we already have a really huge range to work with.”