Post Date: 2014-10-02
From the kitchen to global markets, Hai's has never lost sight of what makes it such a time-tested favourite - authentic tastes with the customer's needs at heart.
Mum's recipes will always occupy a special place in our heart. And in everyday cooking, those sumptuous dishes might have been flavoured by Hai's instant sauces and pastes. Established in 1984, the family-owned company has been making ready-to-cook sauces for more than 20 years, delivering authentic tastes that conjure up the warmth of traditional culinary creations. A mainstay at many food courts, cafes and restaurants, the company has gone on to flavour some of Singapore's most iconic dishes such as Laksa, Mee Siam, Mee Rebus and Chicken Rice, and is even popular overseas for those that seek out authentic Singaporean tastes.
And it all grew from humble beginnings. Hai's Managing Director, Lim Swee Hai, shared that his mother once owned a small provision shop in the local kampung's market where she sold homemade dried goods along with simple sauces and pastes to their neighbours. Her skill was handed down from her own mother, who was Teochew by dialect, but worked in the kitchen of a Peranakan household. Swee Hai's mother brought this knowledge to an even greater level, taking into account feedback from her multi-racial neighbours and friends, and crafting sauces that appeal to a wide range of people with a flavour that is neither too spicy nor mild, not too bland nor strong.
With the popularity of the sauces and pastes, and after the market moved away, Lim and his mother decided to make it into a full-fledged business. They subsequently applied for a small factory to produce homemade sauces like chilli sauce and curry paste, where Swee Hai was in charge of sales while his mother did the entire operations from preparation to packaging. Thus, under the hard labour of the two, Hai's was born.
A NEW GENERATION
Just like the company's roots which revolve around family traditions, Hai's has seen the reins of the company being handed through the generations, constantly evolving to keep up with the times. Darren Lim, Executive Director and the son of Managing Director Lim Swee Hai, has been working for nearly a decade in his father's company. Although initially he did not have any cooking knowledge at all, he has now grown to become an expert in detecting the various flavours and nuances inherent in sauces and pastes, even being able to tell the difference between competitor brands.
In the current competitive F&B climate, Hai's has also kept up with the times by automating processes to boost productivity, and creating new products to adapt to ever-changing trends without compromising on authentic flavours. For example, new packaging such as dipping sauces in glass jars are one way that the company is catering to the needs of the modern consumer's hectic lifestyle. - By developing new products, we can poise ourselves to tap into new market segments. For example, our boxed products and dipping sauces are positioned as premium items," says Lim.
Hai's has also placed an emphasis on innovation, successfully creating 14 new sauces and pastes since its inception. With the increasing costs of raw ingredients and the competitive nature of the F&B industry, the company realises more than ever that constant innovation is the only true recipe of success, placing emphasis on Research & Development initiatives. It has also strived to keep its prices competitive while maintaining premium quality through checks at every step of the process.
Besides its local presence, Hai's goal in the near future is to strengthen its reputation in existing overseas markets such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia and Malaysia. It also has plans to expand into new markets such as China, establishing its name at trade fairs and exhibitions. We want to continue to strengthen our presence in the local market, but at the same time push overseas from our strong local base," says Lim. From humble beginnings to the global stage, Hai's has indeed come a long way" and continues to appeal to customers old and new alike with the best of traditional tastes and modern innovation.