For Malaysians, the year 2020 is fast approaching. The proposed tipping point at which time the nation will be ushered in as a developed country. What many may not know, however is that by the year 2020 Malaysia also aims to be a globally recognised Halal hub. In reality, these pursuits go hand in hand. Halal food products constitute roughly 16% of all global food trade, which amounts to an estimated RM 2 trillion yearly. The non-food sector, which includes food processing and packaging, represents an even larger piece of the pie. With so much possible revenue, the Halal industry may very well be the gem that thrusts Malaysia’s GDP into developed nation status.
The destination may be clear, but without major players in the food and beverage industry to blaze the trail, progress will be slow and the success of this vision may go unrealised. Among those industry leaders who are leading the pack is Malaysia’s own English Hotbreads. Originally started by Mr. Peter Yong Goon Chong and Madam Ting Jee Huah as a family run bakery in 1966, English Hotbreads has grown to be a market leader in today’s food and hospitality industries. For almost 50 years, English Hotbreads has built a reputation based on quality, innovation, and customer service. A reputation that has proven reliable to clients such as KFC, Pizza Hut, AirAsia, MAS, Starbucks, Kenny Rogers, Nando's, McCafe, and many more.
As one of the forerunners in Halal food service, English Hotbreads received their Halal certification in early 2002 when they began catering to five-star clients. With such an extensive product line, so many clients, and a wide range of suppliers, attaining their Halal certification was no small feat. To this end, a dedicated Muslim team was hired to guide them through integrating Halal standards into their existing GMP & HACCP system. All incoming stocks were stringently monitored and in some cases they changed vendors altogether to ensure their supplies were certified Halal by JAKIM. One such example arose in their search for the right shrimp paste. English Hotbreads chose to make the switch to a Halal vendor although it meant paying more. What’s more is that in their pursuit for an authentic Halal product and production line, English Hotbreads now has a policy in which they do not supply to non-Halal businesses no matter how lucrative the business opportunity may be. This regulation, along with regular audits, ensures that there is no chance for cross-contamination. Amid what might seem like some rather big sacrifices to attain Halal certification, English Hotbreads claims that they’ve won out in the end. That they have gone through the process has served as proof of their high food safety standards, thus enabling them to cater to a wider variety of clients. Markets previously inaccessible to them are now showing inroads. With all the regulatory policies in place, the smaller players are emulating their example, having realised the importance of these regulations to grow their businesses. As the leading OEM Food Service People, they have set high standards that serve as a new benchmark in the industry.
For a company that has stood the test of time, innovation is in its blood. More than 50% of their Capital Expenditure is put toward innovation. A far cry from the family run bakery of 1966, English Hotbreads now operates from a sprawling 38,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Halal facility in Cheras. They have incorporated the HACCP and SQMS standards into their production line and facilities, which now utilise the latest technology, including ultrasonic cake cutting machines, a bacteria free environment, Seewer Rondo lines able to create a diverse range of products, and new turbo ovens. Just as they invest in their machinery, they also maintain a high level of training for their staff. This means that turnaround times are faster in the event of emergency orders or shortages.
What all this boils down to is simple. The customer is well taken care of. To English Hotbreads, customer service is of paramount importance and they take pride in being able to provide solutions through over 500 excellent products. Just as English Hotbreads has served the industry well in Malaysia, so now are they setting their sights on the international market. As a Halal hub, Malaysia offers excellent infrastructural support and a perfect location between the Middle East and the West, from which they can effectively cater to all markets.