When it comes to food content these days, people are just going for seconds and thirds and fourths. They just can’t seem to get enough of it; and to say that we are experiencing a really big moment for food is an understatement. Consumers are looking for food wherever they can get it.
Millions of F&B themed photos are shared daily across social platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr and Pinterest which increases consumers’ awareness of different cuisines and cultures, and fuels their desire to experience them. The term ‘table for one’ rarely exists anymore because chances are you will be sharing your food photo with hundreds or maybe thousands of other people on social media.
In a country like Malaysia where food and social media are both an obsession, digital automatically becomes the single most crucial platform for marketeers to promote their product. Brands are quick on including food as an effective media channel to get their brand message across.
Just recently, Fast Company - the world's leading progressive business media brand, reported that, in analyzing 100 million Facebook videos, the kind of content preferred on Facebook were food videos. These videos generated 200% more interaction than the closest second topic which was fashion and beauty.
Enter Friedchillies Media Sdn Bhd with close to 20 years in food media experience. This local company has successfully positioned itself to represent food communities in Malaysia through various digital platforms such as video, web content (via the award winning website www.friedchillies.com ) and cool food events under the ‘I EAT’ brand where they curate the best food vendors in one location.
Fronted by Founders, Adly Rizal and Honey Ahmad, FriedChillies makes it easier for brands who want to reach out to a targeted market of food fans that include those who are into cooking and/or dining out. As foodies, content developers and marketers themselves, Adly, Honey and their close-knit team knows exactly what their audience want, how they communicate and how to engage with them as food is what they do 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
So what is that je ne sais quoi that sets FriedChillies apart from other food media company? According to Adly, the best thing about FriedChillies is its offering.
“We offer the complete value chain from idea inception to execution and the distribution of brand communication to food fans. We work with brands and collaborate with their agencies to amplify their messages with relevant campaigns and content. We make it our vision to push out brand messages more effectively thus enabling sales uplift. This can either be through social media postings, branded content articles on our website, sponsored videos with thoughtful brand messaging, activation on ground in one of our food events or a combination of all these.”
In order for their prospective customers to receive these messages, brands needs to be visible in all platforms. An example would be through one of FriedChillies’ most popular and much-awaited event, I EAT Nasi Lemak.
“This is the space we are in - Well-Curated Food Events that are Community Driven and we harness a combination of Conventional and the Digital Space to Drive it. Using the event as its foundation, digital is utilised via videos and strong online campaigning There are so many fantastic opportunities for brands to use food as a platform because of its emotional connection. Another obvious reason is that Malaysians and people from this region are largely food lovers and that’s half the battle won,” says Adly.
FriedChillies events under the title 'I EAT' have truly innovated and revolutionised food events in Malaysia. Prior to 2013 where the first I EAT Nasi Lemak event happened, food events were largely sporadic, a collection of loosely collected vendors and not necessarily curated with food lovers in mind.
Using digital data from over 15 years of web engagement with fans and Nasi Lemak as a high interest dish, FriedChillies then went on to carefully select the vendors - a mix of well-loved institutions and up-coming champs. Selection of vendors ticks all the important boxes, from dish specialty, taste and presentation to uniqueness for some. But most of all and most importantly, all have to be of high quality and of course, delicious.
Last year, due to the overwhelming response in previous years, there were nasi lemak action from 40 of the best nasi lemak sellers in Malaysia under one roof featuring more vendors from out of the Klang Valley such as Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Johor and Penang and Perak. All vendors are specially curated via a selection process that started in early 2016 by FriedChillies’ team of nasi lemak experts and enthusiasts.
Among the out of town nasi lemak heroes that came to give the Klang Valley vendors a run for their money were Nasi Lemak Ujong Pasir from Melaka, Nasi Lemak Habib from Batu Pahat (specializing in nasi lemak ‘sup tauhu’), Nasi Lemak Wak Kentut from Kulai with their killer fried chicken, Nasi Lemak Cik Pah Corner from Batang Berjuntai and Nasi Lemak Pendekar Mustar from Penang.
"In 2013 we had 10 vendors whilst the number was increased in 2014 to 20 vendors. Also in 2014, I EAT Nasi Lemak set a record as a non-stop 8-hour food event, which attracted over 15,000 nasi lemak fans, who ate over 25,000 plates and sides of nasi lemak. With 40 vendors in 2016 and it being the biggest one yet, it cemented a true testament of our love for this national dish. It attracted over 18,000 nasi lemak fans from all over the country – some even flew in from Borneo, Singapore and Brunei " says Adly enthusiastically.
With each event, FriedChillies made it a point to tailor the user experience and bring to life the objective of its clients. Videos and articles are released and published not just on vendors but on advertisers so fans who attended the events are already in the know of what they are about to experience.
The idea is not only to celebrate and eat the best dishes but also to have a deeper appreciation of what it takes to consistently serve up great food. The event itself served as a B2C platform for clients to meet and connect directly with their audience and target market.
Other successful food events that FriedChillies has organised are I EAT Burgers in 2014, the 1st ASEAN Young Food Entrepreneurs Conference in 2015, the largest Food Truck gathering in Malaysia in 2016 and smaller client activated food events.
As FriedChillies has been tracking Malaysia’s eating habits for almost 20 years, it’s easy for them to predict favourites and emerging food trends. Next in planning are Ayam Lejen, a fried chicken event, and I EAT Desserts which will also include traditional Malaysian kuihs.
Just recently, FriedChillies.com in collaboration with TerjahMakan.com held its first ever Karipap Competition. Terjah Makan is FriedChillies Media’s Bahasa Malaysia site launched in July, 2017 to bring great food content to the BM speaking market.
They have also launched Projek KWIH (Kuih Warisan Ihsan Haridepan) - a heritage initiative by FriedChillies Media funded by Yayasan Hasanah that looks into conserving disappearing traditional kuihs. This is achieved by interviewing and recording heritage recipes and valuable cooking ‘petua’ or tips from seasoned kuih-makers and homecooks all across Malaysia. FriedChillies has also been commissioned by the Malaysia Airports Berhad to review great places to eat in KLIA and KLIA2.
“What’s great about Malaysia is the democracy of food and people who show up to our events are truly the whole spectrum of Malaysian society” says Honey. “At the end of the day food is emotion, it’s passion, it’s culture and it’s also what unites us. Perhaps it sounds cheesy to some, but it’s the truth of Malaysians, no matter who or where they are,” Honey concluded.