Super snack: Mamame aims to provide allergen-free, better-tasting alternative to traditional tempeh chips

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Mamame's tempeh chips are made without soybean and seed oils to overcome allergy and taste concerns. ©Mamame
Mamame's tempeh chips are made without soybean and seed oils to overcome allergy and taste concerns. ©Mamame

Related tags tempeh Snacks healthy snacking Indonesia

Indonesia-based Mamame says that its tempeh chips are made without soybean and seed oils to overcome allergy concerns and taste issues of the traditional snack, in the hope of catering to consumers worldwide.

Mamame Whole Foods was founded by the mother of Liz Kang, who is the firm’s chief commercial officer. The Korean family has lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for over 20 years.

“Tempeh is like the national food of Indonesia. It has more health benefits than tofu does, but it’s just not been accessible in an approachable form to the global consumer, as its shelf life is unstable and very short.

“Moreover, the combination of soybean and palm oil, which tempeh chips are typically made of, creates a rancid smell and leaves a bitter aftertaste. This was a white space that my mom saw opportunity in,” ​Kang told FoodNavigator-Asia​ at FHA-Food & Beverage 2024.

In 2020, Kang’s mother started developing different recipes around tempeh. Finding tempeh chips to be “interesting”, she experimented with different beans.

It took close to three years of R&D before the product was finalised at the end of 2022.

Mamame’s tempeh chips are made with non-GMO black-eyed beans, tapioca flour, and coconut oil.

“Black-eyed bean tempeh chips are a game-changer for those following a vegan, plant-based, or gluten-free diet. It’s a healthy source of protein, derived from natural, whole ingredients. Our patented recipe contains no soy or seed oils. It is a clean-label product for anyone who enjoys a crispy, savoury snack.

“We really believe in the concept of tempeh chips. Our mission is to become the next acai or kombucha.As those are regional superfoods that later became very popular globally due to their health benefits, it’s always been our goal for tempeh chips to have the same kind of impact around the world.”

Additionally, Mamame’s products claim to have no artificial preservatives and a shelf life of about 12 to 15 months.

Export approach

While its tempeh chips are manufactured in a factory in Jakarta, Mamame debuted in South Korea last March. The brand has since entered various markets in Asia, including Japan, Singapore and Thailand, as well as six countries across Europe.

“My dad used to run a toothpaste factory that my mom took over to produce Mamame’s tempeh chips. The factory is located in a bonded zone, which means tax exemptions are granted only to export transactions and not products for domestic sales or consumption.

“Another reason [why we are only selling overseas] is because our products cater more to the global audience. There are a lot of tempeh chips made using soybean and palm oil in Indonesia [which the locals are used to]. We also didn’t want to compete with existing players in the domestic market.” ​ 

According to Kang, the response in Korea has been “phenomenal”, largely due to the increasing number of people who are interested in vegan foods and plant-based alternatives.

“Although a lot of Koreans are not familiar with tempeh, consumers today are adept at looking for information that they need via online search engines.”

The firm’s next big target markets are the US and the UK, where several leads and orders are coming from.

Kang also revealed that Mamame will be launching at supermarket chain Whole Foods Market in the UK this June.

In South East Asia, the brand is testing the waters in Malaysia and potentially in the Philippines.

Mamame’s current line-up of tempeh chips consist of six flavours, namely Original, Hot Chili, Seasalt, Rosemary, Cheese, and Barbecue.

“We are focused on one product and the six different flavours that we have. Nevertheless, we are going to be expanding flavours at a certain point this year. We will also be coming up with an air-fried baked version to be released in the next year or so.”

Healthier Product Innovation will be a key topic of focus at Growth Asia Summit 2024 – join us in Singapore to learn about market opportunities and glean insights from major industry experts. Find out more here

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