Founded in 1989, the traditional snack manufacturer was a spinoff from a family’s food distribution business.
For a long time, it specialises in crackers available in seafood, spices, cheese, and vegetable flavours. Only in late-2022, it entered a new snacking category with its chocolate cookies, launched in its home market.
Its marketing manager, Jessky Hah, told FoodNavigator-Asia that there remain aplenty opportunities to explore in the two snacking categories. Just within its cracker product category, it had been investing in its snack pellets processing capabilities to hone the taste and texture.
Snack pellets is a semi-finished ingredient supplied to manufacturers to produce the end products. Hah shared that its brand is “one of the rare ones that produce the pellets from scratch.”
Taste as an important factor for snacking
On snacking innovations, Hah suggested taste was still more important than healthier options.
“For now, we are still focusing on taste. We know that there are trends around consumers looking for healthy food and healthier ingredients, but it’s not as fast [for the snacking space]. We feel people don’t really care much because they don’t always snack right? Even without the healthy claims, the snacking trend will still stay relevant.”
She added that its R&D team has found that spiciness is a top trending flavour and launched the “Miaow Miaow Flame” series around May to June 2022 – featuring a range of local Malaysian and global flavours such as sambal balado, curry, and Korean spicy.
Brand activation efforts
Its current priority is raising brand awareness in existing markets: “Although we have been around for a long time, it is a very competitive market. We are starting to do a lot of marketing activities, not only locally but also working very closely with overseas partners to work on some ground activations to continuously stay relevant, build the stories, and keep building the brand awareness.”
Two months back, it held a media launch event in a shopping mall in Selangor, Malaysia, featuring its full product range alongside activities to evoke the childhood memories associated with the brand.
“We also engaged some key opinion leaders (KOLs) to build likes and organize Instagram games around that. We want to apply the same for our overseas markets as well, so we select a few countries to get started on some ground activations,” Hah explained.
Miaow Miaow operates on a mainly brick-and-mortar presence in Malaysia’s supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores; and available both online and offline in its overseas markets.
Cracking overseas markets
While it manages its local distribution on its own, the brand exports to nearly 40 countries across Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Americas, and Europe via local distributing partners.
Hah said that its biggest export markets are the UAE countries and China, and it was largely accounted by its longstanding relationship with its local distributors.
“We have been in Saudi Arabia for more than 20 years, and we have a good partner over there who has a very strong coverage in the duty market. People find it quite surprising to find our products in the duty market as imported products hardly get into that market,” Hah explained.
For its aforementioned brand activation efforts, it is targeting South East Asia due to its proximity.
Its overseas exports account for about 60% of global sales and its NPD is centred on developing flavours that are widely accepted with all markets, such as barbequed and cheese flavours.