Fatigued by the snacks available in the market, Serene Heng, founder of Kelly Snacks, began conceptualising the reinvention of traditional local snacks in November 2021.
“As a foodie who is constantly on the prowl for the latest snacks, I thought that a breakthrough was needed in this space. I am a fan of local snacks and always felt that they are underrepresented. There is no lack of local snacks in the market, but why do people mostly end up eating chips? Why do we consume certain local snacks only during Chinese New Year? I believe there is more to snacks than just chips.
“Therefore, I decided to fill the niche and create my own version of artisanal snacks with trendy local flavours,” Heng told FoodNavigator-Asia.
The brand’s initial batch of 14 products was developed in three months and sold from Heng’s home in February 2022. Within a month, the snacks were featured on Singapore’s national newspaper, which spurred sales and accelerated expansion into mass commercial production.
Over the next seven months, the line-up was streamlined to two snacks series – Crispy Pops, which are made from handcrafted spring roll wrappers, and Crabsticks, which are specially formulated to achieve a light crisp.
Each range consists of three SKUs inspired by Asian flavours, including Seaweed Wasabi Crispy Pops and best-seller Cereal Butter Crabsticks.
The products officially hit retail shelves last December.
“When we first started, we experimented with flavours such as salted egg, cereal butter and spicy curry to appeal to local tastebuds. However, we decided to broaden the scope to include other Asian flavours, so as to increase the brand’s potential in expanding internationally.
“Currently, we are the only brand in the market that offers spring roll wrapper and crab stick snacks in a variety of flavours. Our snacks are wok-fried to achieve a flavourful crunch in every bite. We are looking at collaborating with another food firm to do a limited-edition product for the festive season,” said Heng.
At the moment, Kelly Snacks is available at Emart24 stores and specialty retail shop Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat, as well as online platforms Shopee, RedMart and GrabMart.
“During the recent Boutique Fairs event, the total number of packs sold crossed the four-digit mark. We are also looking to stock at supermarkets and convenience stores in the days ahead,” she added.
Furthermore, plans to bring the brand overseas are in the pipeline, after seeing positive reception from foreign customers.
“We definitely intend to extend our reach beyond Singapore, as we have had customers who purchased our snacks as souvenirs since our early days and brought them to countries like the UK, US, Australia, Thailand, and Malaysia.
“The plan has always been to go international. We are already in talks with some overseas retailers that are interested in distributing our products, and we hope to export by the end of this year,” Heng shared.