ZAC CHUA creates The Kettle Gourmet and The Nutkins to bring popcorn and nuts with the flavours of Singapore to foodies looking for something new and exciting
Adventurous and gutsy, a young Zac Chua took the bold step of turning his brainwave into reality – popcorn with the local flavours of Singapore, such as chicken rice, bak kwa (barbecued pork snacks) and teh tarik.
With only about $100 in his startup pot the 28-year-old Singapore Management University graduate started off with a website, namecards and help from his friends to dabble with flavours, textures, marketing, branding and design, and went knocking on doors of corporates and businesses, and pop-up events.
In 2017 The Kettle Gourmet (https://www.thekettlegourmet.com/) was born, and the popcorn has been a hit not only with local Singaporeans and expats who relate to the flavours but also tourists and visitors, who find it “irresistibly delicious”.
Popcorn success heralds in nuts, also centred around the theme of local and exciting flavours. The Nutkins peanuts comes in ‘baked prawn’ and ‘black pepper crab’ – enticing munchables to serve for the Lunar New Year.
A Chat with Zac Chua, founder and CEO of The Kettle Gourmet and The Nutkins
1 How do you come up with flavours and product design of your products such as The Nutkins and The Kettle Gourmet?
Flavourwise, I’ve always wanted to be different from the others. Besides local flavours, why not have crazy and wacky flavours? We were the first to come up with the chicken rice flavoured popcorn before competitors came in.
2 Do they always have a Singapore element to them?
We try to as much as possible, so that people can relate. We have non-Singapore flavours like cookies and cream, but the most important factor is that people can relate to it.
3 Who are your main customers?
MNC pantries, private cinemas, and 5 star hotels
4 What lessons have you picked up from The Kettle Gourmet’s campaign, and how do you apply these to current and future brands?
I’ve learnt a lot about business management in general in the past 1 year. Marketing wise, I’ve learnt that branding is everything. Once you have built a strong foundational brand, it will sell itself via word of mouth.
5 What cocktail or tipple goes well with the nuts?
Personally I like Margarita with them but we always encourage our customers to be bold and try things out, because you never know what you may accidentally discover.