Ken Yong – Goldhigh Mama Popcorn
In this interview, Ken Yong, business development director for Goldhigh Mama Popcorn, shares the growth of the brand and its humble beginnings.
What do you do?
I do brand building and strategic planning for Goldhigh Mama Popcorn.
How did you get into the industry?
We started the business by accident. Since 2006, we have been supplying ingredients and materials to companies. After a few years, some companies asked us to do original design and equipment manufacturing (OEM & ODM) for them, so we tried to fulfil their requirements and gain their trust. Then we started to produce finished products for the public.
Share with us a story from behind the scenes.
Many years ago, our mother said that there was ‘not much delicious popcorn out there. Most of them are too sugary and not crisp enough – why don’t you try to make nicer and healthier popcorn? Even kids and seniors will like it!’ After hundreds of tests and tries, we think we have made the best taste with crispness!
What food memory from your childhood or travels stands out?
I still remember feeling excited whenever I went to the movie theatre and ate popcorn with my family. Now that I’m grown, it’s hard to go to the movie theatre together as everyone is so busy.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part: seeing positive reviews from our clients on social media gives us a lot of confidence and encouragement to maintain the quality, and to produce more and more products for the supporters out there.
The worst part: we hope the courier service can deliver the orders to our clients on time, they can’t wait to taste our products!
What’s one of your favourite food and beverage pairings?
Popcorn and soft drinks are the perfect match!
What’s one of the happiest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
Knowing that all our food debris is being used for fertilizer or poultry feed – wasting is not a good thing.
The perfect day off would be…
Bringing my products to orphanages, care centres and old folks’ homes, and looking at the happy faces when eating my products.
A day in the life of Ken Yong is…
Eating! I can’t escape from eating opponent’s products and our new products!
What does Ken Yong do for fun?
I enjoy asking friends to try my products. I love asking for their feedback, which can help me improve.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Goldhigh Mama Popcorn?
People always think snacks are unhealthy, and we want to change their minds. Our mission is to produce healthier and delicious but affordable snacks for everyone. Additionally, our snacks are Muslim and vegan friendly. Most of the ingredients are imported, and are made with less oil and sugar.
How has the pandemic changed your perspective or the way you operate?
Before the pandemic, we focused on OEM and ODM markets, which we were used to working on. During the pandemic, we launched our own brand in the business-to-customer market using online shopping platforms and social media. It was a huge change for us, not easy but fruitful.
What’s your view on the F&B manufacturing scene in Johor Bahru?
It’s tough to do business in JB! To be honest, all of the employers in JB are facing the problem of hiring due to the close distance between our city and the Lion City. We all know that Singapore’s currency is attractive to many people. Therefore, if anyone reading this article is interested in growing with us, don’t be shy to contact us!
What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement to work towards social responsibility and sustainability in the future?
As mentioned, we don’t like wasting as there are too many people in the world facing the problem of starvation. I hope all the manufacturers or retailers can turn their debris/leftovers into a useful method, no matter for human beings or the crop, like we do.
Read more interviews like this one with Ken Yong here, and stay up to date with the latest gourmet and travel recommendations here and here.
Same thing with teachers, I hear. Very easy to get posted to JB as nobody wants to teach there – cost of living too expensive. That is why they get a lot from Sarawak.
Great, I love popcorn! 😀