Spread bet: Singapore nut butter brand EATNUF aims for China, Malaysia markets in 2023

By Nurul Ain Razali

- Last updated on GMT

Singapore nut butter brand EATNUF aims for expansion in China and Malaysia as well as NPD. ©EATNUF
Singapore nut butter brand EATNUF aims for expansion in China and Malaysia as well as NPD. ©EATNUF

Related tags Nut butter Cashew Almond sustainable

Singapore natural nut butter brand EATNUF aims to enter China and Malaysia, besides diversifying its product portfolio, in 2023.
Eatnuf founder Nelson Chong
EATNUF founder Nelson Chong. ©EATNUF

Its founder Nelson Chong, 31, hopes to distribute the original two nut butters, almond and cashew, and new variations such as black sesame seed spread on Chinese e-commerce platforms around mid-2023.

Chong is still gauging the Singaporean market response for its Malaysian entry as it usually mirrors its northern neighbour.

“If the Singapore market likes it, the Malaysia market will also like it. From these two plans, the firm hopes that the unit sales will increase by 30% to 40% by end-2023,”​ said Chong.

Established in December 2020, EATNUF is a word play on “enough” to demonstrate that consumers eat enough and healthily. The first two SKUs, commercialised in February 2021, are almond and cashew butters in PET jars of 300g and priced at SG$11.50 (US$8) per unit. Declining to divulge figures, Chong said his firm enjoyed a 40% increase in sales from February 2021 to September 2022.

The almonds are imported from the US, whereas the cashews are from Vietnam. The products were originally manufactured in Vietnam, but Chong will transfer operations to a Thailand OEM facility in October 2022.

The firm utilises retail channels like Haomart stores and Prime and U Stars supermarkets. It also distributes online via its e-commerce site, Amazon, RedMart, Shopee Mart, Lazada, GrabMart and Foodpanda Mart.

EATNUF hopes to capture the mass market but leans towards young professionals aged 25 and above and young families. Its butters can be applied in various ways, such as normal spreading on bread, mixed into oatmeal, blended with shakes, added to biscuit recipes and even cooked in savoury dishes like the Chinese “dan dan” noodles.

New product development

According to Chong, the move to Thailand was also made to support the firm’s new product development. It will release a black sesame seed spread, in which the country can supply the black sesame ingredient. Besides the black sesame version, the brand is producing a pumpkin seed spread, with both expected to enter the market by end-October 2022.

In addition to new product development, the brand will also be reformulating its current SKUs with rapeseed oil by next month. He also plans to add sunflower seeds to the SKUs as an oil substitute to prevent separation in the packaging.

“In the US, there is a huge market for nut butters. There is a whole supermarket aisle for nut butters of various kinds and brands. However, it’s not the case with Singaporean consumers. Hence, I decided to reformulate with rapeseed oil. It was initially truly 100% nuts, but the texture is not acceptable. It’s only right that we fit the product to the consumers’ needs,”​ said Chong, who pursued his business management degree at Purdue University in the US.

Eatnuf cashew butter and Dan Dan Noodle
Chinese 'dan dan' noodles made with EATNUF nut butter. ©EATNUF

By Q1 2023, he hopes to diversify the serving sizes of the spreads too, from 300g consumer jars to single-serve packaging for the ‘horeca’ industry and one- to 10-kg tubs for food service. In addition, he is working with companies to apply a Japanese sealing technique that is believed to lengthen shelf life.

“Singaporeans prefer sweeter spreads like “kaya” (coconut jam), conventional peanut butters, hazelnut chocolate spreads. EATNUF’s is pure and unsweetened, so the consumers see it as healthy. But it is also an acquired taste. Sales in Singapore are not crazy. That’s why the firm is adding more flavours and even attempting to branch out B2B,”​ he said.

Concluding the interview, Chong hopes that consumers will try the nut butters and cannot wait to see what creative ways they could come up with to incorporate them into their meals.

“Once you try a nut butter, you won’t go back to conventional peanut butter, what more with the varieties available today. In Singapore and Asia, there are so many ways that we 'mess' with our food. Now that there’s a new condiment, i.e. these nut butters, I can’t wait to see what people can do with it,”​ he said.

Proteins, probiotics and healthy ageing are major focus areas of our upcoming Growth Asia Summit in Singapore from 11 to 13 October. Check out big-name brands, international experts and pioneering start-ups slated to present here.

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