Time for organic Asian
There is nothing wrong with Asia Kjøttmat's ambitions for growth. The company’s next big focus area is organic Asian ready meals based on Norwegian raw ingredients.
A great deal has happened since Tom Chr. Johannessen, food consultant and master sausage maker at Nofima, made his first contact with the company. He was brought in to help with technical advice and soon saw that production could be made much more efficient with some fairly straightforward action.
Simpler production processes paved the way for growth
That was in 2006, when Asia Kjøttmat was still a one-woman company working out of tiny premises in Drammen. Owner and founder Jarunee Chuphu was working almost round the clock, but earnings were still low.
Now the company has moved into new and bigger production premises in Hurum and is looking for more employees.
“As a first stage, my most important contribution was to make the production process more efficient. I remember that first visit well. I was met by Jarunee Chuphu, who spend most of her day dividing up half pigs, so as to use the meat to make different kinds of Asian sausages and meat balls,” remembers Tom Chr. Johannessen.
Cutting up carcasses by hand is a really strenuous and time consuming job.
“The help we got from Tom, with specifying orders, refining recipes and making contact with good butchers who could supply the meat already jointed, made my working day much easier. The really back breaking work disappeared and we had time to look for completely new opportunities,” explains Jarunee Chuphu.
Collaboration is the answer to organic delivery problems
Asia Kjøttmat sells many varieties of Asian sausages, meat balls and marinaded dried meat to Asian shops in Norway. They are also involved in catering, with a stand selling ready meals at exhibitions, markets and festivals. They already offer some organic options, but the ambition is to offer organic versions of their entire product range.
“One of the aims of the focus on organic is to be a supplier from our own stand at festivals like Øya and Hove. As a supplier of organic food, the biggest challenge is access to raw ingredients. We have chosen to solve this by working closely with an organic farmer at Hurumlandet. He is starting production of special organic herbs, for example. At the same time, we are looking at our recipes and refining them together with Nofima and Tom Chr. Johannessen,” says co-founder Lasse Sellæg, who looks after logistics.
Daring to think big
Asia Kjøttmat’s ambitions are also reflected in the operation of their new and much larger production premises. This disused school in Hurum, which has also been a window factory in its time, has been refurbished and turned into a fully modern food operation.
Belief in the founders, not to mention their contribution to value creation, is clear from the fact that both Thailand’s Chargé d’Affaires and the mayor of Hurum took part in the official opening of the new premises.
“Asia Kjøttmat is an outstanding example of how the help that Nofima can offer to companies also makes a contribution to value creation outside the four walls of the company. New jobs and guaranteed sales for the collaborating organic farmer make a pretty solid contribution,” concludes Åshild Longva, Senior Project Manager at Nofima.