Brand Excellence Award: Anything But Salads
Earning and developing trust in the product, and what has gone into it, is the bedrock of food branding. This, though, unsurprisingly, can take time.
So it is some achievement for Anything But Salads (ABS), the health food producer, retailer and distributor that only opened for business in 2012, to have already won a nomination for brand excellence at this year’s Enterprising Hong Kong Awards.
“It is a known fact that we never, and I mean never, cut corners in anything we do,” explained Calista Goh, ABS CEO and its Co-Founder, Noel Tan. “We are authentic and real. That’s one thing that our business partners and fans love about us. We want the best for you because that is the best for us.
“All of our products are made with 100 percent certified organic ingredients and produced in a gluten-free facility. We’re well known for blending con-temporary science with ancient wisdom; for fusing modern day Western snacks with Eastern herbal wisdom.”
This combination has resulted in products such as ABS’s rawnola - a naturally gluten-free, high-protein, high-fiber breakfast granola and trail mix - and organic chai masala kombucha, a natural probiotic drink made with fermented tulsi tea from India infused with chai masala spices.
Alongside its shop in Sheung Wan, the company also runs a home delivery service, and supplies business partners that include Park n’ Shop, GREAT Foodhall, Spicebox Organics, Green Common and Green Monday.
“Since we revamped our business model from a service-based model to a product-based model in August 2013, our revenue has been growing at least 15 percent month-on-month. From a financial perspective, this is terrific for a young company like ours.”
Goh is very appreciative of the role the skills and enthusiasm of the company’s eight-strong team has played in this success, and she also cites ABS’s values of integrity, openness and honesty as key to the development of its brand.
“The physical example of this can be seen in our shop and food factory which features an open kitchen. Anyone can come by, watch us produce our foods and even ask us about our processes. Since we, ourselves, do not yet have organic certifications, we have the organic certificates of our suppliers ready for our customers and partners to view, if they ask.”
The ABS CEO also has her own, very personal stake, in the work of her company. Having suffered major digestive issues and hormonal imbalances, at the age of 24 Goh found out she had a tumor in her large intestine. This led her first to investigate what role diet could play in restoring her health, and from there to discovering the wonders of superfoods and ‘clean eating’. And she is clearly not alone in her quest for foods that promote well-being. “It is easy to see the growth of the health foods industry in Hong Kong. Here are more brands than in 2012 when Anything But Salads first started and there are also more choices and variations in health foods now than before. On the streets, there is more talk about healthy eating and living and also an increasing appreciation for foods prepared naturally without artificial additives, seasonings and preservatives.”