Shopping for food online has never been this easy, thanks to the online food mart Foodmarket.com.my.
Foodmarket, which was set up with paid-up capital of RM50,000, is the first Malaysian online shopping portal for food lovers, selling a wide range of exotic local food produced by homegrown brands and small traders. The online food market has been getting rave reviews since it began operations last year.
The buzz surrounding it in social media has translated into increasing orders, the company says.
“Most of us prefer to shop at leisure in the comfort of our homes. Foodmarket makes this easy by also doing home delivery. Our delivery service not only reduces traffic congestion but also offers premium local food at a click,” said Amal Azman, manager of Husam Waksa Sdn Bhd, the company behind Foodmarket.
With this new start-up, shopping for food and grocery has never been easier.
Apart from the more than 300 established food brands like Adabi, Faizah, Jalen, Starbucks Coffee, Nice & Natural and MasterFoods which they stock, Foodmarket also carries around 500 local brands from small traders,
When it was first introduced, the e-commerce outlet’s main challenge was finding the right brands that would add value to its online offerings and give customers something they liked.
“We decided to focus on exotic local food first. But what we didn’t anticipate was the overwhelming demand from customers. It’s important to understand your customers’ different needs and behaviours when you start an online food mart. That’s one of the ways to draw them in. For marketing purposes, we used social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to lure the food lovers,” said Amal.
“Our food visuals were shared and tagged in Instagram videos and Facebook, which made them instant promotions and generated publicity for us. We also have a dedicated team who are trained to understand the system we developed,” added Amal, who strives to make sure his staff are familiar with the different aspects of the business and the products carried.
The workers are also required to be proactive, to respond quickly to customer orders and not keep them waiting.
Amal says one of the advantages of the online food business is that you get to control the shelf space. All Foodmart’s products are currently stored at the head office in Wisma Zelan in Cheras and a warehouse in Port Klang.
“Foodmarket is at the food frontier and is a fast growing channel. There is growing interest in shopping for food online. As this interest continues to grow, we find (increasingly) that our stores are not big enough to keep our products. We are looking for the best possible way to get our products to customers in the fastest and easiest way,” said Amal.
Foodmarket also stocks specialty products like the authentic belacan (shrimp paste), ikan bilis, tempoyak (fermented durian), cincalok (fermented small shrimps or krill), budu (fish sauce), petai jeruk (pickled stink bean) and ikan pekasam (fermented river fish).
Another popular authentic food is the sesar unjur, a Sarawak delicacy made of smoked shrimp from a place called Belawai in Sarikei.
This delicacy is made purely from special red shrimps. Instead of roasting them, the shrimps are arranged on a square board made from bamboo, with mangrove wood used as firewood to smoke them. This method produces a special aroma that makes the shrimps tastier.
“There’s a lot of excitement and demand for these exotic dishes because they are of premium quality. We are always on the look-out for more exotic local food to add to our shopping cart,” said Amal.
The local delicacies also come in various versions as a result of sourcing from different suppliers from all over Malaysia. According to Amal, his team of food experts are always scouting for the best and newest food products from around the country.
“However, we are quite selective in what we offer at Foodmarket. We set a high standard in terms of quality, and the selection is done on a few levels before we decide if they make the mark,” he said.
Other traditional foods currently available from Foodmarket are kampung hot chili pickles and ikan pekasam. In terms of purees alone the site offers shallot, lemon grass, turmeric, galangal, Bentong ginger, torch ginger, garlic, hot chili, and red kulai chili purees.
Other beloved Malaysian condiments and ingredients available include tempoyak paste, tempoyak chili paste, sambal ayam penyet, sambal belacan.
Since Foodmarket aspires to be the biggest and best online food market, they also set a benchmark in the way they retail the products and in the services they offer.
“We have a whole range of high-quality, home-made sambal with more than 50 types to choose from like the sambal acar ikan talang utara, sambal ubi kentang, sambal acar ikan terubuk masin, sambal acar buah, sambal ikan bilis, sambal acar limau, sambal strawberry ikan masin and the authentic sambal hitam Pahang,” elaborated Amal.
Even the special pickled fruits from Penang, the famous jeruk Pak Ali is already on Foodmarket’s list.
“You don’t have to travel all the way to Penang to get Pak Ali pickles because it’s already available online. This is also one of the bestsellers in our cart,” said Amal.
They will also bring more than 100 international food brands to our shores. Among them, the famous Almarai Cheese from Mecca and Jamie Oliver products such as Mediterranean sea salt, coriander and cashew pesto, green pesto, red pesto, tomato and red onion bruschetta topping, BBQ seasoning, and more.
“Foodmarket is the stepping stone for us to grow bigger. Our dream is to make all these home-grown products available at the hypermarket,” said Amal.
Soon, they will also include a few types of curry powder in their list. These curry mixes are authentic as they are all home-made and from small manufacturers.
“There are some great curry blends out there, but we have no time to explore.
These curry mixes are of premium quality with great taste. We will also have more than 500 small traders from Penang on board soon. They have agreed to supply their products to Foodmarket,” said Amal.