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By Noor Aznida Alias
KUALA NERUS, June 17 (Bernama) -- Not many food products for sportsmen are produced by local entrepreneurs as it has to compete with similar products from abroad whose branding is entrenched in the market.
This factor provided the impetus for Hutan Ration Powerfood (HRP) founder and managing director, Jazrul Fuad to develop healthy locally-made food snacks, such as energy bars, especially for athletes and health aficionados.
He thanked the government-linked private equity fund management company, Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas), for helping his company build its strategy and expand its product prospects to external markets.
As a small company that has just ventured into the business world, Jazrul said he was grateful for Ekuinas’ assistance and advisory services in various aspects of expertise to ensure continuity and progress during the COVID-19 era.
“When the pandemic hit, sales were impressive because our products were basically snacks for athletes, but sports activities were completely prohibited during that period.
“For that, we really needed help in terms of mentorship to rebuild the business strategy and also penetrate the wider market,” he said when met by Bernama at the HRP factory in the Gong Badak Industrial Area here.
Jazrul, who has a background in economics, said he started working on developing the energy bar and healthy snacks products in 2016, on a small scale at his residence in Kuala Lumpur.
The good response and positive feedback received from friends and customers encouraged him to manufacture the products on a factory scale.
“In the beginning, I started out with protein balls and energy bars which consist of eight types of flavours.
“However, after studying the needs and demands of the market, we introduced a granola (cereal)-based product that also has a variety of flavours,” he said.
The products, which are halal certified by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), are produced using premium grade raw materials and are of high quality, he said.
The products are sold between RM8 and RM30.
He said more than 90 per cent of the raw materials such as almonds, oats, beans and dates were imported from the best producers abroad while he uses only authentic honey.
“Among our customers are the National Sports Council cycling teams and we are proud that our products were also supplied to the Malaysian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics and the recent SEA Games in Vietnam.
“Currently, our market is concentrated in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore which are still on a small scale,” he said, adding that the company also received machine tool assistance from SIRIM Bhd.
Jazrul said he hopes to receive assistance from relevant government agencies to expand his business to Indonesia and the Middle East, which is part of the company’s five-year strategic plan.
“Apart from expanding the business, I also want to provide more job opportunities for the locals. The company currently employs five local women, including a single mother,” he said.
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